The first words incoming Ukiah High School students hear from me are, “Your first job at Ukiah High School is to discover your passion. The more important job is to celebrate the passions of others. In doing this, you will create a community of compassion and love.” To parents, I’d start with a question, “What goal do you have for your child?” These are difficult prompts. They are prompts that create hope, drive, and partnership.
Asking a person to identify their passion can be risky, initially, it inspires silence. People fear the judgment of their dreams. It turns out that with enough practice, people look forward to sharing their passion without prompting. With modeling, students are also at ease with celebrating the passion of others. An athlete admires a poet, a poet cheers for a musician, a musician smiles in awe at a welder, and a welder admires an athlete. It really does happen. And if you tell a school that the word of the year is love, every year, that word is easy to say - and to hear. And hopefully to believe. Our school culture is better for this effort.
Fortunately, we can be confident in our persistence for students to discover their passion. The diverse learning opportunities offered at UHS are inspiring: advanced placement courses that outperform national averages, more career vocational courses than any school in Northern California, a total commitment to the visual and performing arts, and athletic participation outpacing our competitors. The academic and counseling support systems are robust, and the community does an equally impressive job of offering even more avenues for students to develop a passion. Collectively, our commitment to leading young people to take healthy risks, build confidence and see a more hopeful future is a joyous partnership.
The partnership with parents begins with their answer to the question, “What goal do you have for your child?” I’ve only heard positive goals. High school graduation. College graduation. Military. Being healthy. Virtually every job imaginable. I’ve agreed with and admired every goal shared. This prompt is usually offered when things are not going well between school and home. When a student makes a wrong choice, or a parent feels a teacher is too tough. When we are growing up, sometimes we make bad choices. We learn best and feel most loved when the adults in our life are partners - at school and at home. That same partnership should work together to achieve the goal you share with your child. Diverse, compassionate, demanding teachers and coaches are essential. Achieving goals and being successful requires hard work. Thank you in advance for sharing your goal for your child. Thank you for your partnership.
As we work together, striving to reach those goals, I look forward to seeing you at UHS celebrating the passions of our students - athletic games are free for families and students, music and drama performances provide highlights for the year, and academic and counseling evenings are designed to build our partnership.
Discover your passion. Celebrate the passion of others. Create a world of compassion and love. Welcome to Ukiah High School.