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Fourteener Fest / Celebrating the beginning of a school district’s turnaround.

Adams-14’s new Principal, Brian Wright, ushers in a new era of respect, culture, and accomplishment at Adams City High School.

By Karl Emmerich

Principal Brian Wright meets the Freshman Class at Adams City H.S.

You could call it a ‘first order agenda’, or “0100 Hour”.  Either way, it’s going to be a wake-up call for the Adams-14 high school teachers and staff this coming Monday morning

“The first thing we are doing,” said Adams City High School’s new Principal Brian Wright in my ‘invocation interview’ with him, “is getting our entire staff on board.”   And with that I was slid an 8 ½ x 11 across the table, entitled, “A Vision of Multicultural Unity”.

“What this is,” explained Mr. Wright, “is our first order agenda for this Monday (School starts this coming Monday, August 13th) because it builds into pride and culture, the basis for achievement.  Self-respect, respect for others, and respect for our past and our culture is indispensable….  we need it to teach accomplishment and we [as a united staff] need to walk the talk first.”

Mr. Wright leaves nothing for chance.  He knows that to bring his students on board he needs to first recruit the patronage of his trusted teachers and staff:  “This is about giving back to the community and they need to be on board.”

My questions for Mr. Wright, however, were cut abruptly short with a sudden message from his assistant and a reflexive spring to his feet by my interviewee.   And as he bolted from his office, I wasn’t really sure if the echo of his words down the hallway were intended for my ears or those of a fire crew coming up from behind.”

But with “follow me”, I responded in militaristic fashion, grabbing books, camera, and managing not to trip over myself in an attempt to keep up with an obvious olympic champion.

Catching only one further gimpse of the large frame administrator as he rounded the second school corridor, up, I walked the balance of pursuit blindly, nearly giving up the chase before hearing a quiet hush turned roar as I approached the school gymnasium.  My steps inside were definitely an after-the-show-starts experience and one that was hardly noticed by anyone in the gym.

I am also sure that I was the last of the balance of 500 people crowded into neatly ordered rows of bleacher seats and that Mr Wright was definitely a ‘just-in-time’ #499, in a perfect a sync as is possible with his V.I.P. loudspeaker introduction as no less a Sony recording artist than Principal of Adams City High School.

And without further adieu, the mike was his as much as was the gymnasium ‘stage’.  And Mr. Wright certainly was no stranger.  His first order was the welcoming of the 2012 Freshman Class and second order was the assurance of the student body that theirs was the best and most qualified teachers anywhere.  He handled it all as a bit of a rockstar but with a few additional solemn yet supportive admonitions:

“I welcome you as the Freshman Class … but remember.. This is all about respect.  When I’m talking, I expect you to listen and when you talk, I will extend the same courtesy.    I will tell you right now, that 80% of you are going to college.   You’re going to stay out of trouble, you’re going to graduate and we’re going to get you scholarships.”

Short, sweet, and less static than a Sprint cell phone.  But with words as profound and as well-spoken, I almost expected an encore.  But instead, ACHS’s new principal finished his address and left the stage.  A thought flashed in my head of a toy I’d been kept busy with as a kid, sitting in the back seat during hot summer vacation trips.   It was this magnet and a bunch of metal shavings inside a plastic window.  When I brought the magnet near, all the filings lined up in a perfect row.   I easily imagined the Freshman class with as much magnetic polarization that moment.  It really was as profound.   I had always thought the acquisition of student respect as something that takes at least a semester or so, at least as long as the first homeroom bell.  I had never seen it done in a few minutes flat.  But there it was.

The prospect of change at Adams-14 is more than a mantra for Principal Brian Wright, who credits his staff and Superintendent Patrick Sanchez with their ‘extraordinary’ skill and support and for his opportunity to act as a “change agent”.

But if change can’t happen in an instant (and obviously it can) than it will be only refined, enhanced, and expanded community wide in an even more profound way by ACHS Principal, Brian Wright.