Dear 2020 Seniors, I get it. You worked for nearly two decades to achieve your goal, and then you had the culmination of all of your hard work ripped away from you by an invisible force. No celebration with friends, no family get-togethers, no formal acknowledgment of your accomplishment. It stinks. But I get it.

I will confess that I spent the first couple of months of the quarantine wallowing in self-pity. I had worked for nearly two decades to achieve my goal of becoming MSTA state president, and then I had the culmination of that work ripped away by an invisible force. No spring meetings, no in-person summer leadership conference, no traveling for other conferences.

And then I would spiral into a period of guilt for feeling so shallow and selfish. After all, I was healthy, my family was healthy, I still had a job that provided for our necessities….I had no right to feel sorry for myself! Good friends would tell me that my feelings were valid, and that I had a right to mourn the loss of the events I had looked forward to with such anticipation. After all, I won’t be able to reschedule them. There will be no “do-over.”

But a couple of weeks ago I was watching a news program on television, and I heard something that resonated to my very core. These words came from one of the greatest philosophers of our time, that modern-day bard….Jon Bon Jovi. He wrote an anthem for the quarantine which says, in part, “When you can’t do what you do, you do what you can.”

From that point, I was determined that COVID-19 would not dictate my term as president! There is still a lot I can do. I might not be able to meet face-to-face with our members and build the relationships I wanted to, but I can keep in touch through social media and through writing articles. I can advocate for our profession by communicating with lawmakers. I can help our students by serving on a task force charged with making recommendations to assess learning loss and accelerate learning when schools reopen in the fall. I can grow as an educator and a leader by reading recommended books and professional journal articles.

I still have several months left to serve as your president, and I intend to make the most of that time! You have blessed me with this great honor, and I pledge to do my best to represent you faithfully and fervently. Our virtual Leadership Conference promises to be an exciting experience, and I am looking forward to “seeing” many of you there! Please join us for a day of learning, laughter, and leadership development, and please contact me if I can help you in any way!