Vision: Past, Present And The Future

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He was the illegitimate son of a single mother. His father was a high school dropout.

At birth, his prospective adoptive parents rejected him because at the last minute, they wanted a girl. Though he graduated from high school, he dropped out of college after six months -- penniless.

Upon building a two-billion dollar a year business, he was fired by his own company. Later, after creating another successful company and returning as CEO to his former company, he was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer.

Today, Steve Jobs, creator and CEO of Apple Computers and Pixar Animation lives! He continues to be one of the most brilliant technology pioneers of our century.

"Without vision, the people perish." I have heard this and believe it to be true. Gaining insight from the past, applying it to the present and looking toward the future are the most critical components to success. When students are able to "catch a vision" for what they can become, they begin to take ownership and create their own future. How often do we spend time with our kids and "visioneer?" How often do we point out their strengths, gifts and talents and with them, explore their dreams? I am convinced that student success begins with vision.

Over the last few years, I have spoken to many former graduates about their experiences after Payson High School.

They are many and varied, however a recurring theme is this, "Mr. Sandoval, I only wish I had realized thus and so when I was here. I would have done things differently." With this in mind, I began to think of how we might connect our present students with some of these former "grads" so that they might be stimulated to plan for post PHS.

Though we provide other support activities, we have never really tried to connect current students with past graduates in this fashion.

Hence, this Thursday at 7:30 in the evening, we are going to sponsor the first PHS "Grad Night."

Six former PHS graduates who have been out from one to three years will participate in a panel discussion. Each panelist will begin with their post-PHS story; what they expected, what they found, how it changed their perspective and what they would have done differently if they had known then what they know now.

Subsequently, we will have a microphone available so students in the audience can ask questions of the panelists. Our hope is that this will be one more tool we can offer to help students catch a vision. We have invited all of our seniors, however, other classes, parents and the public are welcome.

So what is the "vision" of Payson High School? "All students, regardless of their circumstances, will receive the finest content, instruction and community as a school. As well, everyone will be committed to continuous improvement." Everything we do is run through this "lens." Are we perfect? No, but we continue to strive toward this vision with energy and courage.

By the way, Steve Jobs' story can be found on You Tube. It is 14 minutes long and quite inspiring. For you techno-novices (I'll avoid the suffix "phobes"), go to your internet search engine and type in You Tube.

Click on You Tube, then left of "videos" type: Steve Jobs, Stanford address. That should get you there.

Here's a great idea: watch it with your kids. They might even be impressed by your techno-prowess.

See you at the Payson High School auditorium on Thursday night.

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