spiritLast week I was asked by a parent “What inspires you?” It was in context of celebrating our school by gathering thoughts about what makes La Costa Canyon a great school, and my response was visceral and quick.

What inspires me? Kids.

I love LCC because of the opportunities it provides to make a difference in the lives of young people. The exuberance our students bring to campus is infectious. Their curiosity inspires me, their spirit renews me, and their investment in La Costa Canyon presses me to be the best educator I can be.

Curiosity drives education, or should, and I’m proud that at La Costa Canyon our teachers nurture this curiosity, inspire students to connect to academics, and provide them venues to thrive. I love watching Engineering students figure out how to sort different colored marbles, actors collaborate to create rich and meaningful performances, and anatomy and physiology students gather together over a cat, prodding, snipping, and getting their (gloved) hands dirty. Education should be elbow deep, and I love that we have teachers across the curriculum that allow students to be curious, passionate, and involved.

We see school spirit in a thousand different ways, through the arts, athletics, student government, clubs, and events. What has always struck me as unique to LCC, however, and I don’t see this as a little or insignificant thing, is the overwhelming number of La Costa Canyon Maverick shirts and sweatshirts I see on campus every single day. I’ve worked other places where kids wore jerseys and the occasional school hoodie, but at LCC I defy a visitor to walk ten feet without seeing a student in Maverick wear. It’s pride in our school community, and connection to LCC that helps to define our kids, and I feel good about this place I spend my days when I see the panoply of cows everywhere.

Beyond clothing, students show their investment in LCC in the time they spend on campus. In my job I tend to get here pretty early and (to my patient wife’s gentle annoyance) stay pretty late. From dusk till dawn I’m not alone; students begin their days (meeting with teachers, studying in groups) early and finish their days (rehearsing for concerts and practicing for games) late. They come in on weekends to practice sword fights for the play or spinning flags for color guard. Student athletes study on busses and in bleachers; LCC debaters and journalists live the double lives of full time students and full time professionals in training. These students inspire me.

Plus I like the nutty, unexpected, and even goofy side of high schoolers. No day do I know exactly how things will go. I may believe that I’m looking at a day of meetings and standardized testing, and find myself dressed in a crown and playing Duncan in a video project for Macbeth. I may arrive at work focused on a difficult conversation I’ll need to have, and find myself delighted by the invitation to listen to one of our student rock bands perform.

What gets me going? La Costa Canyon High School students. They create an atmosphere on campus that is exuberant and grand. They are the lifeblood of this great school, and the hope for our future. Students, whose journey from kids to young adults is something I get to witness every day, are why we do this.

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