Students at Moffat County High School decided on a major shift this year and voted in a new schoolwide saying: “Dare to Dream.” The banner hanging in the commons area during the past three or four years read, “Every Student Will Graduate” — and more than a few students have, which is something we are very proud of as teachers.
The shift in focus has been a natural progression for students who are beginning to understand the power and meaning of words and the benefit of a group identity shaped by a simple saying. Some might describe it as a creed or a mantra, but in every respect, it is a reflection of our students' views about their education and the potential a high school diploma contributes to living this American dream.
For some, the idea of dreaming means having unrealistic expectations or the fear of being called a “loser” if the dream is shattered. However, students are beginning to grasp the realities of adulthood as they move through their high school experience. The dream they might have as a child will change and adapt to their present circumstances and realities, but dreaming about a future they desire is an act of courage for many kids today because their failures have become such a documented reality.
Consider: Class grades, academic performance, physical ability, effort to cooperate with others, value as compared to a standard and willingness to plan extensively in the present for a future that will look radically different than today are part of what we do in public education. Each is, on a strictly prescriptive level, warranted and necessary.
The dreaming part takes place in the tiny places between the data profile and our respective successes and failures. My data profile in high school indicated that my biggest dreams should involve working with my hands in a trade. Thank goodness I dared to dream and had a few teachers who made those tiny places in between seem big and friendly and ready to take me in.
Dare to dream (and keep dreaming as you get older).
At least that’s what I think.