Opening Day 2022

Yesterday morning, RSU 18 staff gathered at Messalonskee High School to kick off the new school year. Staff members grabbed some delicious breakfast treats, some district SWAG gear, and headed inside the auditorium for the opening session led by Superintendent of Schools, Carl Gartley.

Mr. Gartley welcomed everyone back and introduced new staff members. He then took time to remind everyone of our district motto – every student, every school, every day, and encouraged everyone to make a positive difference in the lives our students. He showed a short clip illustrating that the effort we make in our students today, impacts them forever.

Mr. Gartley then welcomed our morning speaker, Derrick Tennant, to the stage. He opened with Mark Twain’s quote, “I wonder what it would take to purchase a soap bubble if there was only one in the world.” Tennant then went on to say, “Mark Twain is weird!” After the crowd erupted in laughter, Tennant shared that in reality, there are millions of soap bubbles, but only one you… and only one of each child in our classrooms. The value is immeasurable.

Throughout the morning, Derrick Tennant shared inspirational nuggets of wisdom like taking opportunities to positively impact the lives around us, looking on the “right” side (he is paralyzed on his left side), and his personal motto, “Live simply. Love wastefully.”

He explained that everyone needs a hero in their life, and challenged RSU 18 staff members to use their superpowers! He went on to explain four superpowers each person has.

Superpower #1: Harness the impossible. There are things on this planet that are just impossible – impossible for us as adults and things that may be impossible for our students… and that’s okay! Use the impossible as motivation to get better at skills. “Remember, you are not a mistake, and celebrate what you can do!” Tennant shared with the crowd.

Superpower #2: Engage obstacles as opportunities. It’s all about our attitude.

Superpower #3: Radiate generosity. Remember, generosity gives the giver joy and the recipient joy.

Superpower #4: Ooze love! Julie, Tennant’s sister, joined him on stage and shared this final superpower. Julie has down syndrome, and her grandpa explained that down syndrome just means she has an extra love chromosome. She shared that she may be slow to learn, but not slow to love. She encouraged the crowd that each one of them has superpowers too, and to keep going even when it seems impossible.

H – Harness the impossible

E – Engage obstacles as opportunities

R – Radiate generosity

O – Ooze love

“Want to be a hero? Love your students. Want to be a big hero? Love your students that don’t expect it. Want to be a superhero? Love your students who don’t deserve it.” – Derrick Tennant

Tennant concluded his time with staff challenging them to love wastefully. He and Julie shared personal stories and made everyone smile and laugh. His final point was the acknowledgment that sometimes we are put into situations we don’t want to be in, but we can still give love and kindness to those around us, and we can be heroes in the lives of the children we come into contact with.

No detail was left out of this spectacular morning – from Aroma Joe’s catering to student athletes cheering staff members on as they entered the building on a red carpet. Thank you to Mr. Gartley, Mr. Morin, our administrators, tech team, and wellness team who made this morning such a success.


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