January 26, 2009

                                                                                                              January 26, 2009


Dear LoMA Family,


After she sang for the president and first lady’s inaugural dance, Beyonce said that having Obama  makes her “want to be a smarter and better person.” I think he would be glad to hear this. Much of his inaugural speech was about the hard work that all of us have to do. He said that the journey to success “has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less” as it has been “the doers, the makers of things…who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.” He also said, “Everywhere we look, there is work to be done.”


Obama knows about hard work and not settling for less. His mother used to get him up at 5:00 in the morning to finish his homework. He earned scholarships to the best high school in Hawaii, to Columbia University and to Harvard Law School. At Harvard, his peers elected him the first African American editor for the Law Review, the most prestigious position for a law student in the nation.


As Beyonce noted, his journey is inspiring for all of us. I hope that his legacy will be that everyone believes, no matter their background, that they can achieve greatness through determination and effort. Students at LoMA will have a chance to show that they understand this when they take their Regents, mock Regents and Scantron tests this week. For many people these tests will make a big difference in their term grades. Therefore, they need to memorize study guides, form study groups, make flashcards and come in for tutoring to ensure their success. On the day of the exam, they need to eat well, get to school early and keep their focus without rushing.


Those who did not achieve success the first term can take guidance from Obama’s advice to “pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again.” Most teachers will give students the opportunity to work twice as hard next term to make up for failing grades this term. If you failed a class, ask your teacher about making a contract to do this.


The election of Obama is a magnificent symbol of change. Now begin the real work of making change happen, and your first step is success in school.


Work Hard,


John Wenk