In Case You’re Wondering: #ThenEmporiaWins

Feb 5, 2018 | Messages from the Superintendent

My wife, Jodi and I had the opportunity to attend the Emporia Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting recently.  It was obvious by the turnout and the activities that a great deal of thought had gone into organizing and planning this event.  The evening was a tribute to the many positive things that are happening right here in Emporia, Kansas.  Many times we tend to focus on everything that is wrong or that could have been done better.  Thank you to the Chamber for the purposeful planning to make the evening a success.  

I was particularly interested in the remarks by Jeremy Rusco, founder of Dynamic Discs which was named the 2017 Business of the Year.  The remarks were well crafted and mixed with the correct amount of humor, but more importantly, they helped those present to be a part of the successful journey that he, his family, his employees and his business have embarked on during the past 13 years.  The one line that stuck with me that he stated a couple of different times went something like this, “When Dynamic Discs wins, Emporia wins,” and the story went on and he repeated, “When Dynamic Discs wins, Emporia wins.”  For some reason this statement resonated with me throughout the weekend.  If everyone in Emporia — businesses, students, staff, parents, community members and patrons — all embraced this motto, think of what that would mean not only for our whole community but the impact it could have on individuals in our community.

This past month, I had the opportunity to be a part of events that showcased the power of our staff working together toward a common cause.  I was fortunate to spend some time at Village Elementary School for the Capturing Kids Hearts National Showcase School nomination visit.  It was rewarding to see and hear dedicated staff members share their success stories.  The ultimate success story is that when our students win, Village Elementary wins, and when Village Elementary wins, Emporia Schools win, and when Emporia Schools win, Emporia wins.  What if we begin to think about the bigger picture?  What if we begin to think about the exponential benefit that one seemingly insignificant event might have on the community of Emporia?   

Prior to our January 24 Board of Education meeting, we had the opportunity to spend time at the beginning of our evening with approximately 60 members of the Emporia High Student Council.  I think I can speak for everyone in saying that we have a great group of young people who are providing leadership for EHS.  (When EHS StuCo wins, EHS wins . . . .)  The students spent time sharing about the positive experiences they have had this year.  Following that conversation, our board study session focused on the ever-changing landscape of social emotional learning needs.  Approximately 40 staff members, students, board members and community members shared an hour of their time discussing the importance of paying attention not only to academics but also to the social emotional needs of our students, staff and community.  The insight we gained from our time together will help to ensure that we have considered diverse opinions and ideas, thus allowing us to continue to move forward with valued input from a variety of stakeholder groups.  If we can help our students, staff and families to flourish, then Emporia wins.  

When the staff and students at Emporia Schools are successful, it only makes sense that Emporia wins.  It creates a sense of pride and accomplishment in our community and helps us to remember that each and every success we have contributes to bringing Emporia a step closer to what it can ultimately be.   

Imagine if we choose to be intentional about each win that we have, and purposefully consider the impact that it will ultimately have on our community?  I hope that Jeremy’s mantra gets stuck in your head and you begin to see success stories with your family, in your workplace and in our community.  Reflect, smile and then simply say, “With this win, Emporia wins.”


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