Permanent Connections

Whether we remain in one school work setting for a long time or hop around from school to school, we touch a lot of lives.  Conversely, we are equally as touched.  After 25 years in the business—and a lot of stops along the way–I have built a lot of connections to a lot of people in a lot of places.  And the opportunities to reconnect along the way are always fulfilling–somewhat like class reunions or homecomings.

Most recently (11/12/09), I had the opportunity to return to Newport Elementary to give the inspirational message at the Academic Achievement Awards ceremony for about 250 students who made Principals List and Honor Roll.

My speech was called Hawk Air and it started like this:

Imagine walking into grandma’s kitchen right when an apple pie is coming out of the oven.  Your natural reaction is probably something like a big, long whiff followed by a great exhale of satisfaction.


You could almost taste that apple pie.  Just the aroma and the air you breathe seem to invigorate, refresh, energize, even nourish the body, mind and soul.

Now, I want you to focus on our air.  Because the air that surrounds us tonight is equally as rare.


That, my dear students, families and friends, esteemed colleagues, and distinguished guests…that is some good ol’ Hawk Air…the air that hangs exclusively over the Newport Nation.

On any given day here, if you look above the tree line and against the clouds you can see a hawk or two gliding on the wings of that hawk air soaring ever higher…always improving their positions…always soaring ever higher.


Our air is the air of excellence, success, achievement, hard work, determination and ClassScapes.

Full text of Hawk Air


One Response to Permanent Connections

  1. KMPerry says:

    Joe: Absolutely wonderful speech. I have enjoyed reading your entries from afar. This one makes real to children that you can care about them and not be with them all the time. A hard abstract concept for young minds. Congratulations on accomplishing that.

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