A reminder of our changing world

I received a reminder from an alumnus of my school Westwood.

I received this e-mail last week from alumnus Oliver G.and he gave me permission to share it.

Dear Vicki,

You probably don't know me as I'm a not so recent graduate of 1991. The reason I'm contacting you is that you can imagine my surprise as I'm reading through Friedman's book The World is Flat and find a section in there about Westwood Schools in Camilla, GA.

It was quite an inspirational story, but I think it only confirms what we’ve known now for a while: the access to and dissemination of information is no longer limited by infrastructure and physical location. Small towns and small schools now have access to just about everything that their larger counterparts do.

What you do with that information is up to your imagination and the limitations of the 24 hour day. It’s a great leveling force for students at any level, and I’ve seen this develop from the days of CompuServe with a dial-up connection on my Commodore 64 in the early to mid 80’s to coming up with ways to apply that technology to my current life and career.

Keep up the good work, the world is watching! If anyone else is left there from my times, please tell them I said hello.

Oliver **Full Name removed**, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine
St. Louis, MO

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(I have to say that I'm proud of my alma mater and Oliver's letter makes me proud, both of him and his accomplishments and of our school.

We are such a small school, but it is amazing the things people from here go on to do. We have NASA scientists, political advisers, surgeons, leading IT people in the military, high ranking military officers, denominational leaders, Wall Street Advisors, and people on Broadway. (Oh, and one outspoken blogger. ;-))

Odd that we graduate a tiny senior class of 15-30 each year and people go on to do such things. It always makes me proud when I hear from fellow alumni such as Oliver and reflect on how special my own school is.

For those of you who don't know, we're in a tiny farming town and this school has stayed open with our blood, sweat, tears, lots of pies and cakes and raffles. Our tuition is less than the public school spends per student and less than half of the other private schools in the area, but is supplemented by our fundraising efforts… we cut soup labels, write grants, use grocery coupons, and cook A LOT!

While we're not perfect, I think somehow the fact that we all have to work so hard to keep the school going and thriving… it sends a message to the students… who seem to win at almost everything they do. We're very small, but we have big hearts. We can live in a small town but not have small minds.

I say this not to put down every other school in the world but to make a point…

Every school has its story.

It is important to tell it and tell it often. Share with the parents, faculty, and students what it MEANS to go to your school and what the people are doing from your school. Build esprit de corps. Talk about what you're doing and why it is important.

Tell the story of your school. Often, it is the stories that we care about most.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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1 comment

Louise Maine January 24, 2008 - 7:29 pm

That is so inspirational. I love hearing stories like this and want others here to read it.

We are in a depressed area and some students have but most do not. The parents of those who don’t have said that the technology we are “pushing” is not going to help my kid. That is so sad to hear and a tough mentality to break.

I love the dial up and commodore 64. That was my first computer but we did not have any Internet connection. I just learned to compute and play little games. My how it has all changed.

Don’t you just love hearing from any student?

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