Make it a Great Year!
In March of 1982 I was 28 and a half years old. I had just been hired by WCVB TV Ch 5. The New York Times had recently named Channel 5 “the best television station in the country.” So here I was joining an organization that was to the TV business what the New England Patriots have been to the NFL for the past twenty years.
I didn’t even have a key yet, I had to be buzzed in by Minnie, the receptionist. As I slowly walked through the newsroom in awe of the Hall of Famers preparing for the 6PM news, Natalie Jacobsen walked over to me, stuck out her hand and said, “Hi Mike, I’m Natalie Jacobsen, welcome to Channel 5!” For those of you who never heard of Natalie, think Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga greeting you on your first day on the job.
Somewhere in your school there is a similar young girl or boy who just transferred into town, just moved up to middle school or is a lonely, scared freshman. That person has yet to gain any self-confidence or self-esteem. He or she hasn’t made any new friends yet and many in the school are giggling and snickering because it’s the easy and popular thing to do. What’s usually popular isn’t always right and what’s right isn’t always popular.
What will you do when you see that student sitting alone in the cafeteria or wandering the hallway in search of the science lab or library? Will you join in the laughter and snickering, or will you rise above your peers and be the one to make sure that student feels welcome and INCLUDED rather than EXCLUDED?
Leadership isn’t comprised of being a yeller and a screamer. Leadership comes in many forms. A smile, a handshake or a kind word is always associated with leadership. A simple “welcome to our school,” or “come sit at our table for lunch” can turn an intimidated student into one who feels welcomed. Your actions are always monitored by your teachers and your peers. It’s a long school year, make it a great one by making sure no student is left behind. I’ll never forget what Natalie’s gesture did for my self-confidence and self-worth. Make it a great year. It’s up to you!