As I am sitting at home during this global pandemic, and watching the events happening across our nation it has given me time to think… as I’m sure all of you are doing the same. If you are a student at Canton Central you have a wonderful opportunity growing up in a community that is surrounded by two wonderful Universities which brings cultures from all over the world to the village and to our student body at Canton Central. This is a benefit that very few cities, towns, and villages have. We have it in our little corner of the world. There are many benefits including diversity, global perspective, experience, and seriousness of purpose.
This benefit also brings challenges during times like the ones we have witnessed very recently, and unfortunately throughout our nation’s history. As the generation that will likely be cleaning up the mistakes, misgivings, and turmoil for years to come, it is important to start your progression as an individual and generation now so not to repeat history as too many have before you.
As the future leaders of our country I would like you to focus on three particular areas: Leadership & Character, Education, and Community.
Leadership & Character:
Our country is in desperate need of proper leadership. No matter what political party you are a member of or thinking of becoming a member of, your parents are members of, or your grandparents are members of; the leadership in our country for decades has not been good enough. Our nation needs leadership that puts all people before individual gain. Leadership that is not tied to money, popularity, or party ideology. Leadership that understands right from wrong and has high moral character. All of you will be leaders as adults whether it be the president of a corporation or the head of your household. Many of you are in leadership positions already. Many of you are captains of athletic teams, presidents of clubs and organizations, you may be the first seat for the band, the sound director for the musical, or you volunteer in the community with service organizations. Use these positions to mold your skills as a leader and build the character to make our nation one of acceptance and prosperity for every person.
All of you are entering the formative years of your education. You in caught in the crux of formal education during a global pandemic. Your formal education will be very important to you whether it means getting into a college or university, learning a trade, or serving our country in the armed forces. As you become adults you will fully understand the importance of education. For far too long our educational system has been underfunded which has led to socio-economic separation, criminal activity, and desperation. Education of all kinds can be the great equalizer for young children in poverty stricken urban areas and the extreme rural communities starving for funding. Remember this when voting on school budgets. Your formal training is only half of the education you will need. You will need to master social education to find true success. This means being able to communicate with others. This means to have empathy for others. This means to look beyond the problem right in front of you to solve the related problems in the future. Education is not K-12, higher education, job training. Education is a continual process of improving yourself which is an absolute right for every American.
As we have seen in the most recent events in Minneapolis, community is one of the most fragile aspects of our lives. To me this signifies its importance. All of us are the members of the Canton Central community, Village/Town of Canton community, St. Lawrence County community, New York State community, United State of America community, and the global community. Each community affects the other. Individuals in a community must continually work to keep the connection in the community strong. Standards outside of our laws must be as important as the laws themselves. How will be live together? What will be accepted? What will we not accepted? How will we address issues when they arise? How will we work together to uphold our community? Individuals and groups are allowed to have beliefs, ideas, and opinions that do not align. People are allowed to disagree, but who will keep the community together? The reaction to disagreement is what is important. Build your communities to be accepting and tolerant of all people, ideas, and opinions. Do not allow disagreement to grow into division.
Your generation has a tough road ahead, tougher than most before you. You will be given every opportunity to show what you are made of. Be determined, tolerant, accepting, gritty, intelligent, inspiring, and cohesive. Do it together, do it with compassion, do it for us.
Boys Varsity Basketball Coach