It has been almost one year since I was granted the privilege to lead #1FalconNation. As I have stated many times, I am very humbled to serve the faculty, staff, and especially the students of Monmouth Regional. One of the priorities I shared throughout the interview process was to work diligently to brand Monmouth Regional so that those of us on the inside would control the perception of our outstanding high school. Business Writer James Heaton describes branding:
Branding is not push, but a pull. Branding is the expression of the essential truth or value of an organization, product, or service. It is communication of characteristics, values, and attributes that clarify what this particular brand is and is not.
Back in the November edition of the Today Paper, a local paper where I write a monthly article, I wrote: “For too long, the perception of our school has been controlled from the outside in, instead of from the inside out. For too long, those people who don’t embrace our diversity have been in control of creating the perception. For too long, those who don’t send their children to our school are the loudest voices.”
What a difference a year makes. The staff, faculty, and especially our students conveyed the vision of openly sharing the characteristics, values, and attributes that reveal the true perception of Monmouth Regional. Our use of social media has eliminated the walls of our high school and has pulled the community inside sometimes without even stepping foot into our halls. The conversation no longer revolves around conjecture based on the outside perspective. I’m not approached with statements of misinformed speculation, such as hopefully, you can turn that place around. Instead, people can see for themselves and read about the prominence of MRHS. Today when I see people around town, we talk about the great things that they are able to see on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook or read in The Today Paper.
So, what are they seeing and reading? They see that we are a learning community that cares about their students, provides rigorous instruction and extra-curricular opportunities, prepares our students for life after high school, but more importantly, exudes a palpable spirit of unity and kindness. The character of our young people is often on display with their charitable endeavors or their willingness to embrace the diversity that makes Monmouth so special. This couldn’t have been more conspicuous than at our commencement ceremony on June 17, 2016. One of our inspirational students, Vizmay Gadgil, whose motor difficulties make it necessary for him to walk with a cane, decided he would walk across stage to receive his diploma versus the diploma being delivered to his front row seat. Upon seeing their classmate make the very proud walk, the graduates all spontaneously rose to provide Vizmay with a decibel-shattering standing ovation. This prompted the adults in the audience to do the same. This one act is just a sample of the greatness that permeates throughout the grounds of MRHS. Greatness not measured by a test score or college acceptance!
Just like any organization, there is still work to do and improvements to be made. We are proud of who we are, but you have my word that we will continue to work hard and challenge ourselves to continuously get better. However, based upon the conversations that we are having one year later, the perception of Monmouth is reality. And that reality is that we are a comprehensive high school that values each other, promotes greatness, prepares students for college or the workforce, but most importantly, demonstrates kindness.
Lastly, the reality is that we are unified as #1FalconNation.
Proud Lead Learner of MRHS