Hilliard City Schools Superintendent John Marschhausen delivered a simple message to administrators, teachers and support staff Aug. 18 during the district's convocation.
"What's your dream as an educator? Why did you become a teacher? Unless you can answer that, you're falling short (of helping students identify their dreams)," Marschhausen said.
Utilizing the word dream, Marschhausen appealed to teachers to employ dedication, responsibility, energy, audacity and motivation in the classroom.
At the conclusion of the two-hour morning convocation, ambassadors of host Bradley High School handed out blue "dream" wristbands to each district employee.
Marschhausen said he ordered about 1,200 of the bracelets as a tangible reminder of his message and as an inspiration for teachers and all district personnel to remember they, too, must dream to help students achieve their dreams.
"We are preparing our kids for jobs that don't exist yet, using technology that hasn't been invented, in order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet. ... This is our task and it can't be measured on a standardized test," Marschhausen said.
The annual convocation is a sort of pep rally for teachers and staff in advance of the first day of school -- Aug. 19 this year -- for the district's approximately 16,000 students.
In addition to the dream message, Marschhausen previewed the district's first quality profile, expected to be released by the end of September.
"It's our own report card," Marschhausen said.
The quality profile, which was compiled during the past year from a multitude of sources, is meant to illustrate the district's success not only by state mandates, but also by the district's best practices, according to district officials.
Three Hilliard graduates also spoke at the convocation, each recognizing a teacher who had helped them achieve life success.
Todd Cameron, a 1987 Hilliard High School graduate, recognized his wrestling coach, John Riggs.
Cameron is a graduate of Harvard University.
Cameron said he never planned to go to Harvard, but while caddying at Muirfield Village Golf Club, a player handed him $50 and told him it was for his Harvard application.
"I had no expectation to get in," Cameron said. "I was shocked."
Cameron, a letter-winning wrestler at Hilliard and at Harvard, said he expected to be miserable and overmatched, but found he was better at many things than students from the best private academies, including problem-solving and the ability to embrace a failure as a tool for future success.
"It was because of the education I received at (Hilliard) schools," Cameron said.
Recording artist Angela Perley, a 2004 graduate of Darby High School, thanked her orchestra instructor, John Riegel.
"He gave me the gift of music and made me who I am today," Perley said.
She recounted a string arrangement of the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby that Riegel helped compose for Perley to showcase an all-girl trio she formed in high school.
"Mr. Riegel made orchestra feel like home for me," Perley said.
Perley performs as the lead singer of Angela Perley & the Howlin' Moons.
Nikole Abate, a 1996 graduate of Hilliard High School, is an English teacher at Bradley High School.
Abate recognized Tony Maite, a teacher at Davidson High School.
Abate recounted visiting the classroom of Maite when she was a student teacher at the Ohio State University. She said she credits him for further igniting her passion for teaching.
"I took in every moment I could and watched how he (interacted with students)," Abate said. "It is a privilege to be his colleague today."