Telegram - Serving Metropolitan Detroit Since 1944

By Dr. Derrick Coleman
Supt River Rouge Schools 



September 3, 2020

A wise man once told me the Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word crisis. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger - but recognize the opportunity. As we find ourselves on the eve of an opening of school where our students are being asked to do something less than ideal, we recognize there is opportunity in the midst of this crisis. In the River Rouge School District, we embrace this moment because we are certain the skills that our students acquire during this disruption will undoubtedly be helpful to them later in life. As a child, I hoped for a life that was easier, more like those actors that seemed to have the greatest lives. However, as a man that has been able to find success from the most difficult beginnings, I now understand how the early adversity in life was directly responsible for me gaining a set of skills that proved valuable later in life.

There is an African proverb that says, "Smooth Seas Do Not Make Skillful Sailors." This simply means that adversity is a desirable difficulty and those experiences that challenge us are necessary in the process to become great. Too much adversity can be overwhelming. It is with this understanding that we commit to making certain our students have the necessary

support to find success in the midst of whatever challenges they face. As a child, I prayed for an easy path; however, as a father, I pray that my children will have the strength to endure the challenges they will undoubtedly face. This same prayer is extended to the children we serve because our school district has formally adopted the core belief that we will treat every child as if they were our own.

So as we finalize our preparation to begin the 2020-2021 school year, we wish you all peace and blessings in this coming season. May the dark days of our most recent past serve as the foundation for a greater tomorrow. Every child needs a champion and you can rest knowing the decision to entrust your child to our care will bear fruit in the future.


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