“Clubbing” Past the Stereotype

The seen and the unseen. It is all about what makes us better people, lead better lives, and learn more about ourselves in the process. Alongside the unexpected turn of events that occur in our lives, I have said it once, and will say it again, you need to slow the pace of life sometimes to notice the small details that matter, they are often bigger than the experiences we think will matter.

Working alongside the staff of Repentino. for the last three events, just when you think there is a high bar for excellence, students will rise about that if you continue to think of ways to challenge them. No offense, but there is little recognition due to me as a leader when the students take an idea, an opportunity, or an idea and turn it into success. Yes, I am there ot motivate, initiate, and “prime” if you will, but to really see educational experiences be just that, become TRUE learning experiences individuals take with them, a sense of letting go needs to be initiated and students pushed towards using their own decisions and choices that will effect a successful culimnating result. The last three fundraisers for the Repentino. staff earned no less than $4500.00 pesos was earned, with at least two to three hours ahead of time put into the preparation, showing one thing – the individuals, that become a group, willing to put the effort, reaped major benefits compared to last year, increase all across the group are seen – then…

When you hear the comments, you realize what is happening, something you would not see from just hearing or seeing a group of students at work – you see individuals growing, pushing themselves to be better than anything previous – “I have never done this before!”, “I am unsure what to do as far as setting my own agenda and for others…” – “I never saw this aspect of an organization, this has become more than a CLUB, this is n the job and future preparation!” – you cannot help but realize there is a true sense of learning but looking ahead to the future, planning, predicting an audience and meeting a select audience’s needs, enhancing the needs of fiscal records, enhancing public relations skills, developing a mission statement and theme that meets a communication need?

Yet, if you only look on the surface, and see a club, you would see clumps of students running here and there, but without a closer look you miss the whole picture. It is easy to take fro granted the deep-seeded skills that students acquire, be it researching using tools they never thought of, connecting themes of topics to other key words that them them to new research, using the idea of a club or organization to grow as a group and individually in areas to prepare for college, taking advantage of every situation and ignoring the comments of outsiders – those that fail to look deeper and see what happens on a staff by staff basis. My biggest fear is to I will lose focus and not have tasks be connected to a higher purpose, one that benefits the individual involved in a task at the time, combines the skills of thinking outside of the box, that connects to researching personal inquiry and not relying on simply an assignment to do so, triggering creativity along the way, and combining a WIDE WIDE selection of skills and planning that involves what you would normally not receive from a typical library, from a typical organization, from a typical approach to education, and boom – students rocket off the charts with feeling confidence of what they can do with others AND on their own. I believe this year’s magazine has had a GREAT start to taking what an organization like Repentino. can do to add to what the library, research, investigation, literature, art, and communication with others outside of the school can do to shape the overall learner.

Yes, you could minimize what we do as a magazine, organization, and a club (Sounds the same at first, doesn’t it?) , but do not be fooled, Repentino. is simply a vehicle for which the library and valuable acquired skills can be realized – to travel on this highway of the 21st Century. My goal is to leave those not able to see the future on the side of the road while those that do catch a glimpse of what could be, make it a reality.

Wednesday night was an odd night, yet, another opportunity of learning that would be priceless. A colleague informed me there was a research opportunity through Lake Research Partners and people were needed in their opinions on absentee voting, the process, and a little bit of other information. I was excited because I needed to figure that out for myself. Yet, the last phrase I admit, also caught my attention. They will pay you $75.00 for the 90 minute opportunity. Um, yeeeaaaaH!   In in the course of one week, lost my garage ticket at Costco’s having to pay a 190 pesos fee (Trust me, I looked everywhere), on top of running around the past few weeks non stop and felt this would help me recover a few steps of the losses I experienced.  Yet what I would discover was something far more valuable than $75.00.

We did a webinar Wednesday on the latest and newest technology that simply is AMAZING for libraries, as well as the possibilities, and realized it was 4:55 on a required 3:45 day, and I had until 5:50 to be at the Hampton Inn, in Centro to be eligible for this survey. Amazingly, I made it home, I got to the dogs, in the cab, (hanging head) a cab through the mess of Centro traffic? Doubtful – and yet, the driver seemed to sense my nervousness and delivered me right to the door with 5 minutes to spare, the desk not knowing where I needed to be without a name, me attacking the hotel computer and opening my email, grabbing the name, rushing up to the 2nd floor, to the conference room, 2 minutes to spare, a breeze  🙂

Settling in, we started and after meeting three ladies, one who had recruited for absentee voting and encouraging/teaching others to do this process as a right of being a citizen of the United Stated, another research recipient that was at least 85 years old and had been through so many countries, raised children on her own, been denied years of voting due to state regulations until recently, and actually being in tears with the thought of the right she could exercise, and the third woman who was a member of the Democrat party here in Mexico that was a staunch advocate of exercising the right of voting for her party – we over the course of 90 minutes learned how personal the right to vote is in the Unite States, how for granted this right can be in the United States, let alone overseas, and the challenges that remain in getting this information out to so many that can, and do not. We see countries that influence voters, fix votes, try to remove the right to vote to some parties, and we as citizens need to treasure how we can protect this privilege and right. After 90 minutes I was exhausted mentally from the deep considerations and discussions and yet walked away treasuring what I did not know I would be able to do days before. Again, the moments you might take for granted actually carry more weight than you would glance away in a quick moment.

Every year that passes, I realize more and more about myself, as well as dealing better and better with criticisms, and I do realize this. Yes, I get mad when people around me do not see how fast ahead I am thinking, or not seeing the bigger picture. I hate misunderstandings that are acted out without proper communication. Yet, over the last few years, actually since I came to Mexico, I have found ways to channel that frustration, anger, and disappointment and create new strategies never tried, as a holding area, if you will, for a way to turn it around. Sometimes it is an idea no one has tried that that energizes you, other times it is individuals themselves that hold this optimism, potential, and energy that just push you without saying a word. I am grateful to have staff members, students, and close friends that relay that kind of energy. Simply put, it is easier to eliminate those that do not hold that energy so you can led a much more optimistic life, something I continue to learn year after year.   Before you know it, an open road is on front of you with the sky as the limit, and what a landscape that turns out to be…

Did I mention enjoying Saturday movie night with colleagues, getting tulle dover and checked for papers fro driving and thanks to the help of a colleague being let go and okay (first time for everything), running to Costco’s 3 times in a one week period to stock and replenish for student events, visiting Zacatlan, ending a Week of previewing banned books, visiting a few new restaurants to add to the blog, just to name a few things?   Boring time?  Not here.  🙂


About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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