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'Within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition'

Dear Class of 2020, congratulations on each of your outstanding accomplishments! From the moment you entered TRMC you accepted the challenge and approached all obstacles with a positive attitude. Nothing can highlight this more than your final semester as a member of the WolfPack! The transition to online learning during a global pandemic was a potentially catastrophic event but you handled it with grit resulting in an exemplary academic semester. I have never been more impressed with a collective group in my educational career.

Recently I read “The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage" by Ryan Holiday. It was filled with historical examples of great leaders overcoming difficult challenges. The deeper we got into online learning I kept seeing parallels to our students and the book. The following quote sums up the Class of 2020 perfectly: “The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”

The Class of 2020 has forged a path of excellence not only academically but through your character and leadership. Every challenge you experienced during your time at TRMC has prepared you for the obstacles you will encounter throughout your life. You challenged yourself by taking rigorous TRMC and TRCC courses. You spent countless hours reading, solving problems, writing essays and thinking critically. These core academic skills will allow you to have the tools you need to be successful in any future “Pack” you join.

The Class of 2020 has had the most successful academic achievement in school history. You earned 1064 college credits during your time at TRMC — the most in school history. You had every student earn college credits for the first time in school history and over 90% earned at least 1 semester's worth of credit.

Finally, while managing your rigorous academic coursework, working a part-time job, leading TRCC clubs, completing community service hours or on one of our many Grit Day adventures you had the opportunity to practice the habits of success leading to becoming college and career ready. You then were able to apply those habits of success during the transition to online learning resulting in an exemplary performance of the key habits. You needed to be an independent learner, manage your time effectively and advocate for yourself. Your constant communication with teachers, professors and peers display a critical quality that will allow you to overcome any challenge. Ryan Holiday, the author of the “Obstacle Is the Way,” states, “Each time, you’ll learn something. Each time, you’ll develop strength, wisdom, and perspective. Each time, a little more of the competition falls away. Until all that is left is you: the best version of you.”

(Brad Columbus is the Principal at Three Rivers Middle College.)

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