January 2020 Newsletter

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Passion and Purpose

I have a New Year's Eve tradition of writing out goals for the upcoming year. It's a chance to reflect, reset, and recommit to physical, mental, and emotional health. As I brainstormed 2020's goals, I came across a document with my 2010 goals (both pictured right).

What strikes me is that even though my life seems more complicated now, as a husband and father of two young children, I have much simpler goals and far fewer of them.

And yet I feel more connected to my purpose and my passion than ever.

So is the ultimate goal to have no goals?

I always thought that goals preceded purpose and passion. For example, if I set a goal to be 185 pounds by April 1st, I'll have a clear purpose when I go to the gym, which then fuels my passion to get me through the workout.

But maybe I've had it backward. Maybe if we spend our energy finding and cultivating our passion and purpose, the goals take care of themselves.

The first few 2020 goals are directly connected to my passion and/or purpose (relationships, creativity), but getting in the best shape of my life? Where is the passion there? I'm not a particularly vain person and I'm not shirtless in public any more than absolutely necessary. Maybe there's a reason a lot of people get there once they've had a health scare. Maybe once faced with the prospect of losing a connection to their purpose and passion, they finally get healthy.

Tony Wagner, in his critically acclaimed book, Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing our Kids for the Innovation Era, makes a compelling case that "The primary goal of education at all levels should be to expose students to a wide array of pursuits and help them find what they love spending time on." Safe to say that if students are doing this throughout their education, by the time they exit high school they will have found something they love to do (passion) that they are also good at (purpose).

Sure, there is a place for goals. But if the goals are only about numbers and credentials, we will probably find them to be ultimately vacuous, whether we achieve them or not.

So here's to Sam riding a bike, James learning to swim, and you and your students doubling down on what you love and what you're good at in 2020.

Happy New Year!

--Mr. Hughes


Wagner, Tony, et al. Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era Scribner, 2015.

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Thurston - Important Dates

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January 16th: College Application Essay Workshop (2:45 - 4:45 pm)

January 23rd: Entrance Exam (4:30 - 6:00 pm)

January 31st: U of M Ann Arbor Visit

March 19th: Albion Visit

College Acceptance Letters are rolling in!

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Pierce - Important Dates

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January 7th: PTO meeting 6:30pm

January 7th-10th: Winter NWEA testing; make every effort to be at school

January 10th: 8th graders go to Thurston for high school orientation

January 23rd: Rollerskating @ Riverside 6-8 pm

January 24th: ½ day, end of the 2nd marking period

Teacher Feature: Valerie Munoz

I recently received my 20 year anniversary pin with South Redford Schools. This is my 24th year teaching overall and I am so grateful to call Pierce Middle School my home. I love helping students examine their world and nature. Outside of school, I live my two-year-old daughter, husband, and dog. They keep me busy. When I have free time, I love to read, golf, practice yoga and travel.

“The next message you need is always right where you are.” Ram Dass


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