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EHS Graduate Shares District Journey at Hispanic Family Night

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6/2/2014

Sunday Evening News
6.1.14

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou
1928 – 2014

As you are aware, Maya Angelou passed away this week. Social media was flooded with her quotes and I felt like I could connect with many of them. She simply had a way with words that made me feel like she was talking directly to me. I kept seeing the quote above highlighted by others and each time I saw it, I read it through several times. I think it was Thursday that I typed it out in a draft of this email as I knew I wanted to use it in my Sunday Evening News. I was hoping the idea of how to use it would come to me and frankly, I didn't need to wait long.

It was Friday evening and I was asked to BBQ at a dinner that EMS was hosting for their Hispanic families. It was their goal to connect with families by providing a meal and then sharing some important information about how EMS and the families could work in partnership for the success and academic achievement of their children. As I shared, it was my part to cook. Britt came with me, as she believed Plateau Outreach Ministries could also play a role. I simply thought I was there to cook and then move on with my Friday evening. I certainly didn't believe that Maya Angelou's quote would ring true for me.

After a delicious dinner, Andy Means took the microphone and introduced Julian Fernandez (2006 EHS graduate). Andy told the group that he was going to interview Julian in Spanish only. Each table had a translator, but no real pauses occurred in the interview so those of us who only spoke English needed to listen carefully.

I knew some of Julian's story so I could pick up that he came to Enumclaw with his mom with very little ability to speak English. He spoke of people and programs at EHS who made a difference in his life. He spoke of his success in basketball. I talked with Phil Engebretsen on Saturday and he said even though Julian did not know English, it was quite apparent he knew the language of basketball. Within days of his arrival, Phil had him going to basketball team camp. After EHS, he played basketball for Highline Community College and University of Puget Sound where Julian received a business degree. He is currently using his degree and Spanish and is working fulltime. He answered questions from families and with each answer he seemed to weave in the answer of the importance of education...the importance of home and school partnership...the importance of family supporting their children and children taking the responsibility to do well. What an amazing role model for our youth.

Even though I could not fully understand Julian, the way he was talking was like listening to beautiful poetry to me. During his talk, tears welled in my eyes. There were many individuals who helped Julian on his journey. Many of those individuals are members of our school district...a district that has a mission of all students, not some. I will remember Friday night, not by what said or what somebody did, but how I felt during this moment. I felt so honored and privileged to hear Julian tell his story in his native language.

Maya Angelou was right.

Until next week, Happy Learning!
Mike