The Principal's Office
Leadership. Collaboration. Innovation.
Veterans Day has a special meaning to me. My grandfather, George Hayzler, served in World War II and was involved in D-Day. I remember him telling me stories about his time in the war and even showed me some of the medals he earned, including a Purple Heart. My best friend growing up as a child, Tom Baldwin, served the Navy proudly upon high school graduation to just last year when he retired. My wife's grandfather, Anthony Mongiello, also served in World War II and was always so proud to share his stories because he cared so deeply about our country. They continue to be heroes to me for the sacrifices they made because they believed so strongly in making a positive difference. They were called into service and did it with every ounce of their being.
In researching about Veterans Day, I came across an interview with Jeffrey Courter from Chicago, Illinois. He had served his country as a Marine, a Navy Reservist and an Army National Guardsman. When talking about his time of service I was struck by the comments he said about his time in Afghanistan. “My deployment to Afghanistan changed me in many ways. It opened my eyes to poverty, oppression, and human need. I saw children standing barefoot in snow. I saw old villagers afraid of terror. I saw families of Americans providing toys, school supplies and clothing to poor Afghans. I saw bravery, kindness, and evil up close. I saw suffering on a scale I had never encountered before. People asked me whether I made a difference being deployed there. I would say, “A very small difference, but if everyone makes a very small difference, in time it will make a large difference. Service is the gift we give to the world. It’s what makes us human. It is also what gives our lives meaning. Serving my country is part of serving humanity.”
What difference can I make? It's a question that I ask myself a lot. We are called into service each and every day working with students. We believe in what we do. There are days where I walk out of school and say, "Did I make a difference?" However, as Jeffrey Courter reminds us, "even if I made a small difference, and everyone on the staff did the same, in time it will make a huge difference." Right now, our school is a great place and every time each of us makes a small difference, it makes the school even greater. When Monday rolls around in your school and you are not sure if you can make a difference, change your mindset because you WILL make a difference! Imagine the possibilities that await your students!
Richard M. Hayzler
A life long educator and current Principal of Pequannock Township High School in NJ, Rich is excited to share his ideas and thoughts about education and how we can change the world for our students and our staff.