Thursday, March 7, 2013

Our Queen Is Irreplaceable

If I were queen of my school, I would strive to be as good of a leader as my current Principal, Dr. Mary Wilcynski.

This woman memorizes 1,800 names, first and last, every single year. She makes a point to have conversations with the students, and even get to know them.  

She holds a meeting once every month or so, called Cougar Advisory Council, where she sits and listens to complaints and concerns by students about our school. She actually takes these points and applies them to make things better for everyone. She compromises and finds a place where everyone can be happy.

Once, last term, she approached me and asked me how my classes were going, and expressed her concern for my final grade in my math course. She wanted to see me succeed, and knew my capacity for learning was above where I was performing. In a school of 1,800, she took the time to know I wasn’t doing well in Pre-calculus.

From how my teachers talk about her, they also appreciate her establishment of relationships in our school. My philosophy teacher, Coach White, even mentioned that he’s never met a more decent person in his entire life. When his son was having health problems a few years back, she didn’t bat an eye when he needed time off, she instructed him to be with his family. She not only cares about her students, but she treats her faculty as prized possessions.

I once traveled to Marshalltown to watch one of my best friends compete in women’s state swimming, and I wasn’t even shocked to find Dr. W in the crowd. She makes an effort to attend as many events, sports or otherwise, as she possibly can. I’m talking weekends, tournaments, multiple games or even multiple events per night.

And don’t even get me started on graduation parties. Kennedy High School has a typical class size of about 400 students. That’s 400 parties, 400 locations, 400 “congratulations” cards. This spring, Dr. W will attempt to attend each and every one of these parties. This absolutely blows my mind.

Though it’s become a running joke that she shoves AP classes down our throats, the concept has been a little dramatized. She may stress the importance of challenging ourselves, but she only wants the best for each of us. And she most likely knows what’s better for us than we do.

If I were to apply only one concept that Dr. W has taught me, it would be that you have to be your best, to expect people to be their best. How could Kennedy not have an outstanding academic record when we have a woman behind us that is working her absolute hardest so that we succeed? She drives people to do better, because SHE is better.

So I guess I didn’t really take the question of “What would you change if you were queen of the school?” to heart, because I believe that the Queen is already in her rightful place.

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