A Letter from the VCHS Principal – January 2021

Short-term Memory. Long-term Vision

I looked back at previous January VC View letters. They had two messages in common; Welcome back to school and a reminder of the semester exam schedule. No need, unfortunately, to keep with tradition.

This year I want to reflect a little on a saying I used when I was coaching football.

It is not easy to coach a high school team. High school teams are a conglomeration of students with varying talents, abilities, interests, experience, commitment, and confidence levels. One of the greatest challenges, I think, is coaching players that are new to the game. They are prone to make mistakes. They are prone to become discouraged because they often do not “let go” of a mistake. What they (and sometime we) don’t often realize (or remember) is that seasons are long. Games are long. There is time to correct, improve, and move forward. There is time.

One season I came up with the simple mantra for the team: Short-term memory. Long-term vision. It was to remind them, and me, that we can’t let our mistakes be a hindrance. The lack of success on the previous play ought not to hold us back from being successful on the next play. We can’t dwell on a missed block, a dropped pass, a fumble. We need short-term memory. We also need long-term vision.

We knew what we wanted to accomplish. We knew there was going to be hard work involved. There would be pain. There would be disappointment. There would even be doubt. Maybe we would need to make changes or unexpected sacrifices. However, we knew what we were working towards and we knew that, in time, we would be successful. We had short-term memory while maintaining long-term vision.

We know the struggles of students, parents, and teachers over the last three academic quarters of distance learning. All of us, I am willing to bet, at one time or another, have felt a sense of loss, frustration, disappointment. We have made mistakes. We have lost confidence. We have also experienced joy. We have been successful. We have done well. We have improved.

As we look forward to the start of second semester, we find ourselves having to make new plans. Unexpected plans. At least unexpected so soon. We will transition to something new. A step closer to our long-term vision of a return to “normal school.” This transitional phase will be unlike anything we have done before. We will all be young, inexperienced players. We will be new to the game. We will, all of us, make mistakes. What we need, then, is short-term memory and long-term vision.

I’m sure many of you are thinking that at some point we do run out of time. The clock ticks down to zero. Games end. Seasons end. The school year will end. My response is simply this, I guess.

What I mean is this. I guess we run out of time if we think that what is learned, practiced, and executed is only limited to a narrow time and place. I don’t think it is.

Doug Ierardi, Principal