Find out what it means to me.
–Aretha Franklin, “Respect”
With the passing of the Queen of Soul in August, her most famous hit got a bump in the amount of time on people’s playlists. This has caused me to reflect on how important respect is to everything we do at Mountlake Terrace High School and in our society at large. September brought us a handful of incidents of significant disrespect among students here at school and a few big examples of disrespect in our larger society. What has received far less play is the multitude of examples of respect being given—perhaps because those stories aren’t as sensational.
I’ve watched students stop each other in the hall and give genuine compliments. I’ve witnessed students stop another student to zip up their backpack for them. I’ve seen a student step in when insults were beginning to fly and say “Knock it off, we don’t talk like that here.” And I’ve watched our amazing Connect leaders work with the ninth graders in their PASS classes with nothing but respect and support. These examples outnumber the negative examples I’ve seen more than ten to one, but we never seem to hear about them.
Respect is the foundation of the phenomenal culture I quickly came to love about MTHS when I arrived here eight years ago. We know that all of us crave respect. We also know that respect is earned, and in most cases the formula is simple: Respect given yields respect in return. Therefore, I encourage you to look for opportunities each day to demonstrate your respect for those around you. It doesn’t need to be anything big or fancy, just a kind word or gesture. If everyone at MTHS committed to at least one act of respect each day, imagine how much stronger our already fantastic community could grow!