Imagine that someone, on the last day of August, opened a bank account with one dollar and never added even one penny to the account.

Nine months later that same person went back to the bank and said to one of the tellers, “I would like to withdraw $1,000 from my account.”

“That can’t happen,” says the teller. “You don’t have $1,000, but I can give you your dollar back.”

To no one’s surprise, other than the mythical person in the above illustration, the value of the bank account did not increase —  nothing was added to it.

Education can be a lot like the above bank account. If nothing is added to “the account,” then it should be to no one’s surprise that the value of the learning experience is less than what it could be.

What can a student do to increase the value of the classroom experience?

One of the things a student can do is simple, free and available to everyone. A student can bring to school his/her best effort.

A student may not have a knack for Algebra II, but Algebra II does not  define the student, character does.  And character is revealed, in part, in the effort a student puts toward Algebra II — or any subject.

Winston Churchill said, “Continuous effort — not strength of intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.”

In the same vein, Jesse Owens said, “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”

To make this a special school year, students can give their best in all that they do in school.

It will make a difference this year and could make a difference in the years to come.

Og Mandino wrote, “What you plant now, you will harvest later.”

Plant something special: Give your best effort and have a great school year.


Dr. Jerome Stewart serves as the superintendent of the Midlothian Independent School District.