Hello Forsyth Tech Students!
I crafted this message yesterday, but waited to send until this afternoon. The storms blew through and we now have sunshine. However, I know some of us are without power, so I am hoping you and your families are safe and sound following the awful wind and storms we saw last night. If you need assistance, please reach out to us through Forsyth Tech Cares (you can call us at 336-734-7195).
Way back at the end of 2019 during our Winter Break (it feels like it was years ago instead of just four months ago!), I spent time reflecting on the past year as one of the best years of my life, and looking forward to the hope of a new year and a new decade. At the time, I did not and could not have known what 2020 would actually bring. I was eager to start the year with a renewed sense of purpose and the promise of great things ahead for our college and our communities.
I looked forward to 2020 with the kind of hope described by English Poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson: “Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier’.” As I said, 2019 had been a great year, but I believed 2020 promised to be even greater. In fact, that promise was the impetus behind my choice for my “One Word” for 2020: Elevate.
Today, April 13, 2020, is just four months and 12 days since I committed to #Elevate2020. I hoped this year would be filled with continuous innovation and transformation, and a year of rising to a higher level by increasing student success and more importantly, equity of success for ALL students.
“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” – Robert Burns
Our plans have certainly gone awry and 2020 has been anything but what any of us expected. We are in the midst of the novel Coronavirus COVID-19 worldwide pandemic. Our daily lives have been disrupted in unprecedented ways never before seen in our lifetimes.
When we look back over the past month, it is clear COVD-19 has brought people around the country and around the world together, pushing us outside of our “normal,” and imploring us to find creative solutions to sustain us during our fight to beat this formidable adversary.
Likewise, COVID-19 brought our Forsyth Tech family together in remarkable ways to fight our common enemy. We find ourselves pushed to do the impossible, do it well and do it quickly. The urgency of the situation demands our full attention. We are empowered to serve you, our students, without reservation or restriction — to do whatever it takes to remove structural and systemic barriers that prevail under normal circumstances, yet don’t seem so important in the midst of this pandemic.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic and its impact is likely to remain with us for some time. Perhaps we should now embrace our brave “new” normal, as simply a brave normal. If we have been able to elevate, rise, and literally “move mountains” together during this unprecedented COVID-19 storm, imagine how far we can elevate, how high we can rise and how many mountains we can move together once the storm has passed.
April is national Community College Month. While sometimes it seems like celebrating these things is not significant, especially at a time like this, I would argue the way we continue to battle this virus is to stand together and not forget what makes us who we are. This crisis has shown me we truly understand what the “community” in our name means.
Community colleges are in the business of hope and opportunity and that has never been more evident than it is right now. During the past month, I’ve seen demonstrations of incredible care, compassion and courage. I have talked with some of you who could have dropped out because you faced incredible obstacles, but because of the work we have done together, you still have hope and are persevering.
It is my hope when we return to campus following this storm, we will embrace our brave normal with courage, passion and commitment.
Let’s use this storm analogy to thoughtfully consider what we can learn and how we can grow from this experience.
- First, without rain, nothing grows.
- Second, sometimes storms come for more than just to disrupt our lives, they come to clear our path.
- Finally, I love this saying: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.”
Thank you for bravely learning how to dance in the rain. We WILL make it through this storm and I predict a beautiful rainbow on the other side.
Stay safe at home, take care of yourself and your families through the storm.