I recently revisited a commencement address Steve Jobs gave in 2005 at Stanford University. There, he lauded the unforeseen value of diversions – even failures – in a life's trajectory.
Specifically, Jobs described the path from being fired from Apple, the company he cofounded, to starting Pixar and NeXT, to his celebrated return to the reins at Apple. He told the recent graduates that the dots of his life were never fully connected in the present, the path was obvious only when looking back.
This year had its stumbles, diversions, and failures. Many would-be students paused or abandoned their education plans. At times we as a District came up short in reaching these students. This was not for lack of effort, but the reality of a devastatingly unpredictable pandemic.
Today, we must help our students and our colleagues rediscover their paths. Just as Jobs' forced exit from Apple inspired a period of creativity and personal development, we must nurture the strength that comes from struggle.
This is a call for openness, compassion, and determination. Openness to the new. Compassion for those recovering from loss – educational, economic, and personal. And determination to recover in a way that leaves the District, and our neighbors, better off than we were before the crisis.
Openness, compassion, and determination will be my mantra in planning for the future of the Coast District. It is how we connect the dots for future generations.
John Weispfenning, Ph.D.