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Message from Mr. Jim Fornaciari 10/5/18

Posted on Oct 08, 2018

Dear SJF Parents,

Despite the rainy weather this weekend, I am sure our students and staff will be taking advantage of the long Columbus Day break. Today much of the news from the city revolved around the running of the 41st Chicago Marathon. This afternoon, I joined family and friends in celebration of my brother- in- law Craig who ran his 20thChicago Marathon.

Although I have never been a distance runner, I have always marveled at the tremendous dedication and commitment demonstrated by the athletes involved in long distance events. I often wondered what kind of personal characteristics aid these athletes to endure such a difficult challenge. Most rely on the strength to overcome pain, the ability to set a clear -goals and the focus to adjust to a variety of unexpected changes.

More often than not these impressive traits manifest themselves in all aspects of the lives of distance runners. These traits are not things that simply serve them on a run. Over the course of my teaching career I had the opportunity to work with a number of students that were very passionate long- distance runners. I loved working with these students because they never blinked when I gave them a challenging assignment. Perhaps what I appreciated most was their ability to finish the job. These students never walked away from a task before they proudly completed it. 

What about that aforementioned ability to adjust to unexpected change? These determined athletes can handle rapidly changing weather or course conditions. This ability to maintain focus on a goal while being confronted by changing circumstances is no simple feat. Most employers would relish hiring this kind of worker. On Friday, our students and staff were put in a position where they needed to adjust to changing circumstances. I was impressed with the way our SJF faculty adjusted to these changes as the day progressed. Throughout the afternoon our staff focused on the goal of putting the needs of the students first. Our SJF students did a great job of partnering with faculty enabling the plan to run smoothly. Finally, our parents should be recognized for their enthusiastic support. As an educator, I always endeavor to maximize student instructional minutes, but Friday brought about an opportunity for the SJF school community to grow together as a team under difficult circumstances. 

The events of Friday forced some of us to move beyond our comfort zones. From my experience as a coach and teacher I know my players and students benefited when I pushed them beyond their comfort zones. As adults in the work place, much like our children in school, we must be leery of the dangers of getting too comfortable. Bill Eckstrom exams this concept in this University of Nevada Ted Talk ( Enjoy!

Have a great week.

Jim Fornaciari

“Kids first”