Slaying the Impossible

I remember watching the “Miracle on Ice” in 1980 when the U.S. defeated the Soviet Union in men’s hockey. While the press amplified the geopolitical implications, the rest of us were drawn to a scrappy group of unremarkable players who came together as a magical team and shocked the sports world. I’ve always been attracted to this kind of story that challenges the established wisdom of the day and offers a glimpse of the imperfect foundation of the unimaginable. Of course, I was raised under the glow of the “Impossible Dream” of the 1967 Red Sox, which kept me hoping this would be the year. 

Fireworks and the crowd's roar are less prevalent in the daily life of a school. Still, the impact of a group of students finding themselves in a place where they are rewriting the narrative playing in their heads or directed at them is no less profound. It can be as simple as “I can do that”—a math problem, public speaking, or raising a hand. Similarly, a teacher plants the seed of an idea or a concept that challenges their view of themselves or world view, and from there, the arc of their life changes. For some, these moments may seem trivial, but for others they are consequential building blocks of self-esteem and confidence. Perhaps not as dramatic as a miracle or slaying the impossible, these shifts in perception nevertheless alter the paths we take.

Woven through our Vision, Mission, and Diversity statements, PolyHonor, Credo, and Portrait of a Graduate are words that frame our promise, our expectations, our aspirations, and our beliefs as an institution. While they are just words, in the hands of a community that embraces the impossible and believes in the transformative power of teaching and learning, they can be lightning in a bottle. “From here to anywhere.”