Rockets and Fourth Graders: The Power of Tradition #hackingleadership

So the other day I ended up at Underhill Central School and had planned to spend about a half an hour at their annual Rocket Day celebrations.  I have great memories of this day from when I was the principal at UCS.  It’s one of those traditions that was there when I arrived and it may have, admittedly, taken me a while to understand the power of the event.
I thought I would be there for about a half an hour, catch some pictures, watch some rockets and then wander on down the road to my next appointment.  The launches, led by @baronucs and #therealpattidanis, weren’t going that well.  The equipment used for launches is original, by that I mean that I don’t think new equipment has been used for many years.  It took us over an hour to launch only six rockets.  That isn’t great with a crowd and kids waiting with rockets.
Rather than head off for my appointment, I decided to stay there and see it through. I wanted to add some support but more than that it felt important to see it through all the way. You see when you are a part of a tradition you can allow yourself to get swept up in it, enjoy it, appreciate the weight of the history behind it.  I watched those third-grade helpers with their fourth-grade buddies and almost every single one of them talked about how they were going to launch their rocket next year when they are fourth graders.  Sometimes we forget that even though we see an event or tradition over and over again, it doesn’t matter because tradition is bigger than us.  It’s about the collective us.
It ended up being one of my favorite days of the year…and one of the best sunburns of my life.
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