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The theme for our back-to-school convocation in August was #DifferenceMakers. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to talk with a majority of the Emporia 253 staff about their ability to be #DifferenceMakers on a number of levels – with our students, fellow staff members and parents. As we enter the month of September, I continue to be extremely excited about how our staff members are being #DifferenceMakers today, and I am even more excited about the limitless possibilities that lie ahead of us. From my perspective, I believe that everyone in the field of education is charged with the responsibility to be a #DifferenceMaker. It is not a choice – to be or not to be – but rather it is a responsibility we accept when we enter the field of education.  

  • Each and every one of us has been given a role to play as it relates to being a #DifferenceMaker. Potentially that role may be very complex or very simple in terms of what it may involve. Regardless of the role we are given, and the perceived importance of that role, it is imperative that we go above and beyond what is expected of us. #DifferenceMakers do not look at minimums. They maximize opportunities for success.   
  • It’s a given that those serving in the field of education are role models in their respective responsibilities with students. However, in this day and age, it’s extremely important to remember the necessity of being a positive role model for our students, coworkers and community. Contrary to what some may say, educators continue to be held in high esteem in their communities, and that is especially true in Emporia. We must realize the impact that we have is far-reaching both inside and outside of the school environment.  
  • #DifferenceMakers not only know but understand that small things have a big impact on those around them. One example is intentionally being present with those around us. It can be as simple as a smile, acknowledging you heard what someone said or putting your cell phone aside to communicate the importance of the conversation that is at hand. Small things can and do make a difference.  
  • #DifferenceMakers never underestimate their ability to have an impact on others. I continue to be intrigued with how the things I do or choose not to do impact others. Seemingly simple things do impact others. Purposeful positive comments or reflections, sincere compliments, a timely personal note, the ability to change the tone of a conversation or recognizing the need to deviate from the norm and embrace a new journey all impact others.    

What if we all took the oath?  The oath to be a #DifferenceMaker! What if we not only took the oath, but took the oath seriously? Think of the impact that we can have not only on today, but the potential impact we can have on future generations. The next time you are tempted to look at a situation and throw your hands up and respond with “Whatever,” think again. Reframe the situation to, “How do I respond if I choose to be a #DifferenceMaker?” We all have the talent inside of us to see good in the bad and guide the conversation or situation toward a positive resolution. Choosing to be a #DifferenceMaker is never the easy choice, but it is always the right choice. I choose to be a #DifferenceMaker and hope you will join me.   

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