During our Leader in Me training today, the elementary school and middle school watched an incredible video about Eric Weihenmayer and his assent to the top of Mt. Everest. Getting to the top is an incredible feat accomplished by only a very few who attempt it. What makes this particular story even more incredible is that Eric is blind. I have problems making it from the sink to the bed once I have taken my contacts out at night! Eric, though, made it to the top of Everest.
But he did not ascend alone. It took a dedicated team, a dedicated system, and a dedicated plan spanning years to make his goal and dream attainable. One particular statement by one of Eric’s team members still reverberates in my ears. On the last leg of the climb, a snowstorm nearly made them turn back, but they waited it out and outlasted it. As the storm passed and they picked up to move, the team noticed that all of the guide ropes they had in place for Eric were covered in inches of snow and a thick layer of ice. It would take incredible energy—in an environment where the atmosphere is causing the body to be in the process of dying—to break the ropes free. One man, at the peak of exhaustion, knowing that his efforts to free the guide ropes could very easily tire him to the point of his not being able to finish the climb, said (paraphrased), “The goal is for Eric to get to the top, not me. So I did what I had to do and freed the ropes.”
I was moved by this for many reasons, but one thing sticks out as being so pertinent to us at Mountainburg Schools: his dedication to a clear goal. When all seemed lost, this man’s dedication to getting Eric to the top helped him make the right decision. He knew the mission was about Eric and not about himself. He knew the buried ropes would prevent the reaching of their goal. So he knew he had to exhaust himself to accomplish that goal.
So I ask you, and I ask myself, what is our goal at Mountainburg Schools? Why are we doing what we are doing here? Is it not to get our students to the top? Are we not trying to get our Eric and our Cynthia and our Joe and our Susan to the top? Our goal and our focus must be student success, raising our students to levels they could not attain without us. It is not about busses, about lunchrooms, about classroom furniture, about me or about you; it is about providing the plans, equipment, training, and guidance for our students to achieve their dreams.
We are a school. Students are our reason for existence. I look so forward to working with you this year as we take our students “to the top.”