Get gritty with it


photo credit Kelsey Morris

Williams shares little while place\\ Principal Mike Williams shared his grit story with the school Thursday, Jan. 29.

writer Brooke Vincent, Editor in Chief

Students throughout WISD learn what it means to have grit

Superintendent Dr. David Vinson launched Grit Day Tuesday, Jan. 20. Vinson’s purpose was to help students of the school district forge grit, find success and learn how to deal with life’s daily challenges.

Vinson defines someone with grit as a person who has high levels of persistence, resilience and tenacity. During the day students across the district participated in grade level appropriate activities based on research from Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania.

“Researchers will explain that the one who finishes has an internal value they describe as grit,” Vinson wrote in his blog post about Grit Day. “These same researchers tell us that learning to face challenges brings authentic achievement and more optimism. How do we increase optimism? You guessed it … you build grit! In fact, the United States Department of Labor claims that one of the most necessary characteristics that adults will need in the 21st Century labor force is grit.”

Activities throughout the day included creating an imaginary robot, building a paper tower and taking a quiz to prove how gritty a student is.

“I enjoyed the first video about the girl with multiple sclerosis, it gave me chills,” Briel Madler said. “It was very inspiring to see the girl go through so much and succeed by not letting things get her down. It made me want to push myself even harder to do better in soccer and school. I think all the students let her story move them and tried to understand what she went through.”

Principal Mike Williams walked through some classes to observe the student activities and the lessons they were learning.

“I think that most students enjoyed the day,” Williams said. “The goal was to educate all students that we need to develop that drive to overcome challenges we face in life. I think it is helpful for students to see that teachers and other students have issues they must overcome.”

Students throughout the day participated in the district wide hashtag “#wisdgrit” sharing motivational quotes, stories and pictures.

“I think that the students responded in a positive way, because it was something they could all relate to, that we all go through hard places,” health teacher Angela Arp said. “I hope students understand that the ability to get back up when you fall and the ability to see through temporary situations are important skills to have, because we all have little while places.”

Between activities, some teachers chose to share their own grit stories with students. Senior Kelsey Morris was asked by Williams to direct a series of short films that will be played throughout the current nine week grading period that share the grit stories of teachers, administrators and students throughout the building.

“I realized that teachers we’ve been in high school with for four years now have a much deeper story behind them,” Morris said.  “They went through stuff that we really don’t even know about. When I filmed all of them, because there’s more coming up, I felt like I knew the person on a completely different and higher level than everyone else. Like me and Arp, I felt like I had a relationship with her that no one else had. I knew what she went through and what was happening.”

Arp was the first teacher featured in the series of videos by Morris. Arp shared her story which included her family’s financial issues, her father’s health issues and alcoholism and the lack of support from some of her teachers who told her she could not be successful because of where she came from.

“I feel like any opportunity to share my story, especially if it has the ability to get someone else through their troubles in life or that little while place, if I can give them that little ounce of motivation that allows them to see that that’s not a permanent place for them then I would be willing to share it,” Arp said.  “I hope through the whole series of videos, not just mine, that they realize that all of us go through stuff and that we walk around and don’t take the opportunity to know who people are so I took this opportunity to share with people who I really am beyond who they may think I am.”

The grit videos will be shown on Thursdays of each week. This coming week senior Edwin Walker will share his story and the hardships he has had to overcome in life.