Last week my children started school again. My son attends a Spanish dual immersion school in Oakland, California. (My daughter attended Melrose Leadership Academy the first six years of MLA’s bilingual program. Now she attends 7th grade in a neighboring district middle school.) MLA is not for everyone, but I believe in the school.
When my daughter was in the first class of bilingual students at MLA, I was concerned, but confident. I know what it means to be the first at something. I have also known people who were the first. I have known trailblazers, and this experience has given me comfort. I have probably taken these experiences for granted.
This last year, my son started playing baseball. He loves playing catcher. I attended a high school that is known for producing Major League pitchers and catchers. Fresno High School also produced the first Mexican American MLB manager. When I was a kid, my grandfather had married into his family. Pat Corrales has had a long baseball career. He is also the only Major League Baseball manager to be fired while in first place. He came from Fresno High.
When I was in high school, my principal was a woman. I thought that all principals at large high schools could be women. I expected that all women principals should be as qualified as Jeanne Contel. All principals could be legendary athletes. (You can search for her in the new book Fastpitch.) I have also gained comfort in knowing that trailblazers like Jeanne Contel are unique. I haven’t worked for an administrator as qualified or inspiring as Ms. Contel.
At UCSB, I found trailblazers at the Women’s Center and the Women’s Studies department. Our campus pioneers led conversations 25 years ago that are finally reaching national consciousness. Change seems sudden to those who have just joined the conversation. In 1989, I felt that I had joined the conversation too late.
Trailblazers are not measured by standardized test scores. Pioneers are often ignored until they have succeeded. To be a successful pioneer, one must take a different trail… a new path. Not everyone is comfortable doing this. Not everyone is comfortable with the discomfort required to take the necessary risk. Some people would rather aim for above average. We have standardized tests for above average.
I took this photo Thursday morning. It is also the featured photo, but the featured photo will disappear after a few more posts. This is the only photo I took Thursday morning. I was aiming at my son when he unexpectedly lobbed the catcher’s mitt to me. The shutter speed was 1/500 and the depth of field was 3.5. It’s a lucky shot. The mitt fell into the frame perfectly. I lucked out on the yellow and blue color in the background. My son isn’t tack sharp, but this will do. This picture also helped me discuss the Corrales connection more. How many managers have there been in MLB history? Who were the first? What happens to those? Where are they from? Mason and the other students are positioned to be exceptional… we will let the other schools aim for above average education.
I took smart phone photos Friday. I may add those in a notes post here. (I edited this post on 8/29/16)