Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Finishing Strong

Here on Long Island, the Belmont Stakes is a "happening". While I usually do not attend the race since the crowds are huge and the traffic endless, I do celebrate with family and friends. Last week, my family attended the 22nd Annual Belmont Festival on Seventh Street in Garden City. The street was filled with vendors, two musical groups, and restaurants opened for street-goers. We strolled down the street, dodging beach balls that were being thrown by fast-moving middle schoolers, and listened to the rock music. 



The next day, there was anticipation for the Belmont Stakes race. I watched the pre-show talking about the history of the race and the biography of Justify's jockey, Michael Smith and the trainer, Bob Baffert. I waited to see the fashion worn, especially the fascinators and the traditional wide-brimmed hats. Then, we went off to a Belmont Stakes dinner party at a friend's house to immerse ourselves in the pre-race activities. Guests crowded into the family room awaiting the race. My iPhone camera was ready to capture the action.


The excitement mounted as the horses paraded out. 


Justify, the clear favorite, was beautifully groomed, calm, and impressive in his stature
He was ready for the race of his lifetime.


Stamina and the guidance of his jockey were clearly needed to win the Triple Crown. 


Looking back on the weekend and thinking ahead to the end of the school year, the hashtag #finishstrong comes to mind. I'd like to end this post with a comparison of the race to the Triple Crown with students' path to lifelong learning, a goal that educators prize at the end of the year. 

Justify finished strong with the ongoing caregiving of his training team, the guidance of his jockey, stamina training, and the vigorous cheering of the crowd. Just like in racing, educators need to encourage students to finish strong by passionately engaging them in active learning activities up to the last day, provide caregiving in ecosystems of trust and positivity, guide their learners, and be champions of hope to help students attain educational victories. Students, in turn, need to build stamina, persevere in the face of difficulty, and strive to become lifelong learners. 

"A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning." -Pat Riley

Are we ready to take on the challenge of finishing strong? Let's build positive momentum leading our students onward. Here is a found poem created from thoughts culled from a short video of Justify's race to the Triple Crown. Perhaps, it will inspire educators and students to finish strong like Justify did.

Finishing Strong

Take an early lead.
Set the pace.
Slow down a bit.
Reflect.
When you're halfway home,
Continue the run.
There may be a far turn but
Stay strong.
At the top of the stretch,
Come roaring home as you
Hear the crowd cheer you on.
Become an inferno of strength
To move you closer
Toward your end goal
Because you are a winner!
©CVarsalona, 2018

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It's Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers. I am heading over to join my fellow slicers.