So I’m sitting down going through Twitter edfeed on a particular evening last fall. “Twitter is a great PD tool.” My Principal had encouraged its use among staff and preached its worth from day one. As any new teacher, in a brand new district – you are inclined to give things a shot. A new classroom motions a thousand butterflies into your head and invites ten thousand into your stomach. Armed with a glue gun and distinct wallpaper – I had committed myself, very early on, to making a difference in this campus. I had never taught middle school before, but I kept telling myself, “how different could sixth grade be from fifth?”
Back to TweetDeck. I ran into a tweet from Verizon Foundation back in September. “Win $20,000 for your school” were the twenty seven characters that stood out. It had taken me a few weeks to figure out that my grade level was in need of some tech. The winning team was to produce an app concept that would solve a problem in respective campus or community. I thought about it for a good 5 minutes and plunged into the application process. I had never sponsored anything before. Not the cheerleading squad, nor a chess team, much less a national competition. It sounded really good in my head, and yet I couldn’t get word out to my Principal for 3 weeks. I was a new hire, you see. New hires are supposed to fly under the radar, listening and learning from veteran teachers - not spearheading such high-profile activities. I did, however, feel a difference in this campus. The air was different here. The Administrative Team was different. A wonderful, open-minded people whose strategy was to bring change by pushing the envelope (and prying the box open).
Armed with a little more than my glue gun this time, I marched in. His “Let’s do it!” became the locus point of where the pebble hit the water. I sponsored 5 teams on this App Challenge (rookie undertaking), and one of my teams received a Best-In-Nation Award for producing an app that assists the visually-impaired in the navigation of a building. Our campus received an invite from the White House in May and the completed app was presented to President Barack Obama at the White House National Science Fair. One of my proudest moments as an educator was hearing POTUS pronounce “Resaca Middle School” as he commended my all-lady team during opening presidential remarks. We also had the opportunity to speak with Google about our project and were invited to tour a few of their campuses in California this past June.
I had no idea how pronouncing the words, “What do you think about Resaca participating in…” would change my life. Newspapers and reporters will never be able to quantify the positive effects exerted onto a campus and a community due to the concentric circles rippling out. What’s my takeaway? Being fearless changes the direction immediately. Being fearless sees an impact opportunity and seizes it. We are all better professionals, better people - because of dreamers. Thank you Verizon Foundation. Thank you Gator Administration. All past and forth-coming accolades are dedicated to you. You saw something in me that I hadn’t seen in myself.