From: Dr. Flip Herndon, Superintendent
To: All Staff
Date: June 2, 2020
I wanted to reflect on a couple of thoughts I have had lately and especially after this weekend.
The pandemic is too much. The health concerns, the loss of jobs, the danger to family members. The inability to see the people we may love the most in a hospital or elderly care facility and provide that which is what makes us human…a hug, a kiss, a word whispered in the ear.
The continued effects from various aspects of life that seem to not reflect the dignity nor the importance of life itself are too much. While racism, classism, sexism, and any other isms out there has been around for a long time and unfortunately will probably continue to be with us for some time, the people who perpetrate and are impacted by these isms are not confined to any particular political party, state or country. I will say there are some places where I feel more comfortable than others. As a light skin African-American male, I have experienced my share of racism and elitism. I wish it wasn’t so. I wish a lot of things, but I just continue to fight what I can, where I can, in the manner that I feel is effective for me and can hopefully positively influence others.
I believe whole-heartedly with the words of Jim Valvano, the former coach of the men’s basketball team at North Carolina State when he said: “To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”
I think often about what I am doing with my life. How do I balance my own happiness with making a positive influence on the world around me? How do I learn something everyday and think critically about how I can be better? How do I enjoy the present and find my joy while preparing for the future. I don’t know when my last breath will be. Hopefully it is at the end of a long life helping people. Hopefully I have many more years to go and it is not cut short, by a disease, a virus, or violence from another human being. I know for many, me included, these tears recently are not ones of joy. Everything happening right now feels like a full frontal assault on life…and sometimes it feels like too much.
However, I do have hope. I have hope in the people that we work with everyday trying to make a difference in the life of students and families. I have hope in this community as it continues to grow, grapple and grip with an ever changing landscape within our city, county, state and country. I have hope in the young people who are graduating this June. They have faced an unprecedented year at a pivotal age in life. There is no doubt that these future leaders and community members will use these moments to shape who they are and how they will be as adults. They are not just watching us or waiting for us to lead, they have taken up the mantle in many cases and made a choice about how they want to see and shape the future. The Class of 2020 was already an amazing group of students…from what I have seen and heard from them lately, I feel confident that positive change will result from all this current chaos.
Thank you for all you do. Thank you for continuing to support our students, families and communities.