I don’t have to turn to Dictionary.com to understand the “deep” meaning of the word accomplishment. Its root “accomplish”, comes from the Latin complir, which also gave rise to the Spanish word cumplir – to carry out, to perform, to fulfill. Accomplishments are about more than the mundane, however.
As a parent and a teacher, I routinely fulfill or perform tasks that at are important and worthwhile … but those things aren’t accomplishments. Being a good librarian, a caring father and a helpful person are my responsibilities, my obligations to others. One is actually a job I get paid to do.
I believe that accomplishments come from somewhere else. Almost everyone can swim; but this summer, Michael Phelps took swimming to new limits. Usain Bolt did the same thing on land with his running. Imagine, that something as simple as running or swimming can still produce great accomplishments.
On a more serious note, no matter who becomes President in November, Barak Obama and Sarah Palin are set to accomplish something that will change the world for all of us and forever. It seems to me, that in order for something to count as an accomplishment it must involve work and it must come from a desire to do a great and difficult thing. The need can be personal, like wanting to beat your own best time or set a record or get a certain grade in an event. Or you may want to change something about the world around you.
Either way, there is work to get done in order to accomplish anything. To get 5 things accomplished in one school year, I have to be realistic about what I can really get done. So, here is my list:
- Paint a mural – C’mon, who doesn’t want to paint something on a wall for everyone to see? Some of my favorite works of art have been on walls. In my office, I’ve got pictures of the Lascaux Cave Paintings – the original wall painters! What is the Sistine Chapel really, but a wall painting — on the ceiling? Two of my favorite muralists are Diego Rivera and Aaron Douglas, artists who infused their art with social messages. One muralist, BLU, posts much of his artwork online and he takes the medium to a whole new plane. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to paint a mural for a while now. Last year, Ms. Blim and her students painted this one. (I’ll insert a pic later).
- More student submissions to the LIT MAG – The LIT MAG is the student arts & literature magazine for Haverhill High School. We ask students to submit their poems, short stories, artwork and photographs for publication, and despite the obvious abundance of talent and creativity at our HS, we never get enough submissions. If you write or know someone who does, tell them to see me in the LMC
- Wired “Media Lab” in the LMC – This year we’re going to have some twenty new computers in the library that will count as a separate lab. If this works out, it will actually be the completion of something that started as a vision several years ago. Sometimes accomplishments take longer than a year to fulfill.
- More feedback on the LMC blog – Thanks to Mr. Cosgrove’s assignment, I’ve already gotten more comments in one week, than I had in the previous eight months combined! (Thanks) If I wanted to take the easy way out, I could check this one off as an accomplishment; but I believe that it’s just the beginning of what will become a long running, multi-faceted digital conversation.
- Publish an article in a magazine – I’ve gotten poetry published in small literary magazines and I’ve had short articles in community newspapers, but I’ve yet to get an article published in more “legitimate/ mainstream” magazines. Part of the problem is that I’ve never submitted anything. You can’t fail, if you don’t try … so I guess I’ve been avoiding trying. This year, if I don’t get something published, I hope to collect at least twenty rejection letters to prove that I have tried. I will hang them in my library office, like certificates for good effort.
So there is my final list for this assignment. I expect to receive full credit from Mr. Cosgrove, and hope that I’m not penalized if I didn’t follow the “directions” or if this was handed in late. I didn’t get the handout.
Before I sign off, I want to share this quote attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, the elder — not the son. It reads, “Every now and then a man’s mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.“
Accomplishing something meaningful should be what our days together at school are all about. Thank you for stopping by and see you all tomorrow!
© 2008 henry toromoreno