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Student of the Week, January 8

January 08, 2020

Congratulations to Gavin Tobey (SMS Freestyle `22) for being recognized as the SMS Student of the Week!

As said by SMS English Teacher Chris Marks, who nominated Gavin for Student of the Week…

This week’s Student of the Week is not perfect. And, to be clear, I mean that as a compliment. Whenever any of us, adults included, start to think we are perfect, or anywhere near, there is a good chance that we are planted firmly in our comfort zone, surrounding ourselves with and attending to only those things we excel at, are comfortable with, and that do not pose any threat of failure for us.

When a person acknowledges that they have flaws, areas to work on, a few things can happen. First, they might be faced with the daunting task of asking for help. Of this student of the week, one teacher writes, ‘What I am most impressed by is the fact that he is reaching out when he needs help. He checks in and is motivated.’ And on that note of attitude, another teacher writes, ‘he is upbeat and motivated; he wants to do well.’

Moving squarely outside of one’s comfort zone also entails committing to and following through on the pursuit of goals. This Student of the Week told me at the outset of the year that they had struggled last year, and that this year was going to be different. (Side note — in my 18 years of teaching, I would put the follow-through rate on the ‘this year is going to be different’ claim at 16%). And, as this year’s first quarter progressed, this student of the week did experience frustrations and failure. But, what has truly impressed me as well as this student of the week’s other teachers is that now, at the time of the year when many students are the most taxed, fatigued, and distracted away from the classroom, this student of the week is following through in pursuit of their goal.

And, what does that look like? Mid QII average grades for this student, compared with Q1 grades, have risen. One teacher writes, ‘this student has matured as a student - he is more accountable for his own work and actions and is a more willing (and positive) contributor in classes.’ Another writes, ‘this student is easily my standout “Most Improved” since last year.’ And for me, he is not only complete with work but managed to memorize and successfully recite a poem in front of the class (which is terrifying for anyone) and submit an essay that was a thoughtful and coherent analysis of the poem, earning a solid “A” for the entire, rather intimidating, unit.

And finally, amidst this process of acknowledging areas needing improvement, asking for help, working through difficulty and remaining motivated and upbeat, and ultimately seeing success with long sought-after goals, it is likely no coincidence that this student of the week is also having outstanding athletic success. Coach Deb writes that, at Bristol last weekend, Gavin put down a solid first run but left room for improvement going into the second run. And that he did, receiving the highest turn scores of the event and earning himself a first-place finish by over 2 points!

Congratulations, Gavin, on your attitude, hard work, and success, and for being this week’s student of the week!”

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