|Friday, February 19th 2021|
While continuing our hybrid and distance learning instruction, a major event occurred millions of miles away on the planet Mars. Scientists created a roving spacecraft to study the surface of Mars. It took incredible problem-solving to design this car-like device to collect all kinds of samples and data. An immense challenge was figuring how to slow the craft down upon entering the Mars atmosphere. Scientists had to somehow design a way for the ship to go from moving thousands of miles an hour to two miles an hour in just seven minutes. I watched the elation expressed when scientists realized the successful landing. Its name is truly appropriate, Perseverance. (They call it Persy for short.)
While Percy is a great name for this scientific marvel, it would also apply to many of our seniors who have overcome so many obstacles to land well by graduation. One year ago, this group of students were actively going about high school with all the demands of academic learning and a full ray of extra-curricular activities. In a single day, March 13, 2020, everything came to a screeching halt. The remainder of the semester was uncharted and students and staff simply tried to find their way to the finish line. We transitioned this fall to a more structure, but one that was still challenging for students. So many of the “fun” aspects of campus life were still stripped away, and classes were conducted primarily online. Despite all the challenges, many students persevered and found a way to overcome and continue on towards their destination. For many, the same nickname applies as the historic spacecraft that landed on Mars yesterday. It is kind of ironic this ship was sent on this particular mission during this time, overlapping the plight of senior high school students across the US.
In the spirit of the Percy mission, a highlight for me this week was interviewing another group of THS seniors. Based on volunteer sign up through ASB, I brought in seniors to conduct short interviews. I had a a chance to touch base with students and find out a little bit about their Tustin High School experience and plans for next year. Each completed interview is posted on our website as a way to celebrate this amazing group of students.
Yesterday, a young lady named Angela came to my office for her interview. When I opened the door, I immediately recognized her as a polite young lady I greeted at the school entrance for two and three quarters of a year. I knew she was passionate about pursuing a degree in the medical field and very focused on academics to that end. It hit me that I hadn’t seen her for almost a year because she had been doing school completely online. It was so good to follow up with her and check in to find that she remained focused and in a sense, persevered. When I asked her about her best Tiller quality, she offered determination. I know that it was this determination that has allowed her to persevere like many of her peers.
I am grateful we can post these interviews on our website for family and friends to observe. They are meant to celebrate our students and their perseverance. They may never go to Mars, but they will go and do significant things in this world. I am convinced. We have some special young people among us in this group, and I am so proud of their efforts to stay engaged and their commitment to land well this Spring. It has truly been an act of perseverance. Go Tillers!
Dr. Jon Tuin
Tustin High School Principal