This is a guest post written by our new Assistant Head of Lower School, Chelsey Watkins.  Mrs. Watkins beautifully shares her journey, what has inspired her along the way, and what excites her about our Ravenscroft community.

Footprints

Feet. Many think of them as one of the least glamorous parts of our anatomy, yet they are often used metaphorically as the vehicle that drives our journey in life, the decisions we make, and the paths that we follow.  The “footprints” we leave behind represent our accomplishments, our impact on the world, and our legacy.

As I think about my life thus far, and look toward the future, I often ask myself, “Where am I leaving my footprints?” and “Are my footprints actually worthy of being followed?”

Some days, I am excited and encouraged by my answers! I can walk boldly and energetically along my path. Other days, I wish I could quickly backtrack and reroute my steps to a new destination. Then, there are days when I want to shuffle my feet so no one notices I am there. The hardest days, however, are when my feet are just standing still, waiting for me to take my next step.  It is so easy to get caught up in simply moving forward that we lose sight of the types of footprints we might be leaving along the way.  

Over the years, I have learned how important it is when my feet are actually still and waiting for direction. It is during these moments that I take a step back and truly reflect on the footprints that others have left on my heart and mind along life’s journey.  These are the footprints that have helped shape me into the daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, and leader I am today.  These are the footprints that inspire my walk, each and every day.

I think about Mrs. Carroll, my sixth grade teacher, who immediately noticed my excitement for learning and could sense my desire to lead others.  She not only sought out opportunities for me to grow as a student leader, but she gave me the space and freedom to try my many crazy ideas in a safe and supportive environment. Her footprints left the impression that no idea is too big or too crazy to pursue.

I think about Dr. Gary Chun, a well-respected pediatrician by trade, who also had an incredible passion for composing music.  When he was given the opportunity to write the score for a musical version of The Secret Garden for our local youth theater in San Diego, CA., he poured his heart and soul into it. I had the privilege of playing the female lead, Mary Lennox, and I vividly remember watching as Dr. Chun was brought to tears as he heard me sing the ballad he had composed.  Dr. Chun’s footprints left the impression that following one’s passion is the only way to live a truly meaningful life. I still get teary when I sing that song to my daughter before bedtime.

I think about Sylvia Scott, an incredible woman of faith, who served as my Administrative Assistant during my four year tenure as principal at a K-8 private school.  She never had the opportunity to go to college because she was busy working and raising her two beautiful daughters.  She worked tirelessly to help put both of her girls through college and once they graduated, it became her mission to accomplish her lifelong dream of getting a college degree.  Every day at lunch, Sylvia  would sneak away with her books, highlighters, and notebook. Most days, she would finish working a full day at school and attend classes late into the evening.  Little by little and unit by unit, she worked toward earning her degree.   This past April, I received a graduation announcement from San Diego State University with Sylvia’s name on the front. I cannot tell you how it filled my heart!  Sylvia’s footprints left the impression that we all have to make sacrifices along the way, but with hard work, determination, a positive attitude, and a growth mindset, anything is possible.

In my life, I have been blessed with countless individuals like the ones mentioned above. Each have their own story and each have left unique footprints on my heart and mind.  They have taught me invaluable life lessons that have greatly impacted the way I teach, mother, and lead others. I can only hope to leave these same types of footprints on the hearts and minds of others someday.

As an educator and parent, it is my passion to not only help children think about and understand the lasting impact they can have on the lives of others by the types of footprints they leave behind, but to also be aware and appreciative of the people who leave loving and inspiring footprints on their hearts and minds.

Helping young children develop a sense of self-awareness, resiliency, empathy, inclusivity, passion, reflection and resourcefulness is challenging, but critical work for both educators and parents. This is why I was immediately drawn to the Ravenscroft community and knew that I wanted to be a part of it. I am inspired and motivated by the work that has already been accomplished as a result of the unique partnership with The Center for Creative Leadership and the Lead from Here framework. I have been in education as a K-5 teacher and K-8 administrator for over 12 years. I have served in public, faith-based, and independent schools in three different states and have never seen an educational institution so invested in the leadership development of its students, faculty, staff, and parents.  Far beyond clever character trait acronyms or catchy slogans which students recite on command, the Lead from Here  framework is the foundation from which every aspect of the Ravenscroft community is built upon. It is just a part of who you are when you become a Raven and that is what truly excites me!

Even though I have only been a part of the Ravenscroft community for a short time, it is clearly evident that the faculty and staff are dedicated to raising students in a culture that nurtures each child’s walk in life and celebrates being reflective and accountable for the footprints they leave behind. I am thrilled to join this exciting work and I look forward to watching our students leave their unique footprints on the hearts and minds of others as they tackle the adventures and challenges of a new school year.

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Chelsey Watkins pictured with her husband Sheldon and daughter Kennedy.

 

Footprint image from: https://tree.mindbloom.com/apps/inspiration/detail/image/cff3deed-df4e-429d-930d-81ddb3376081/

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