Thank you, Kevin.
Sometimes I talk about a "culture of yes" in the Park School.
It's kind of a corny phrase (hey, that's me!), but it means something that matters.
It means that all of the people who work in the Park School, collectively and individually, are committed to saying yes to our students' big ideas and big dreams.
It means we find a way, somehow, to encourage experimentation, to support the kinds of experiences and efforts and energy that are transformative in our students' lives.
And it means we always - always -- start with 'yes,' and we work our way back to "no" only when we absolutely must.
That ideal plays itself out around here every single day.
It happens when we can find the funding to send you (or your friends) to Washington or Texas or Pennsylvania to shoot a film or a documentary.
It happens when we can cover the unexpected costs of rental insurance (who knew it could be so expensive?).
It happens when we can send some of you to China for the Olympics, or to New York for a conference to present your research.
And it happens when our best faculty advisers willingly accept yet another student advisee -- or three or six -- because they understand and are committed to mentoring and guiding you through your undergraduate years.
A Park Moment
Those are Park moments. They confirm for us why we're here, what we're doing, and why it matters.
Sometimes people do that for us as well.
In the past few months, I've been getting feedback about why we should bring the Avid editing system back into the school.
A couple of our alumni -- professional editors in LA -- talked to me about it at the ICTV 50th anniversary celebration.
Becky Goodling, a TVR major, brought it up during a presentation by the students who went to the Olympics with NBC last summer.
Some of our faculty say they have worked in both Avid and Final Cut environments.
And you know, I listen (really, I do).
So this week, I brought it up with David Priester and Kevin Michael in PPECS.
Kevin is the guy who would have to do the work to maintain a new Avid station (or two). And it's not like he doesn't already have enough to do.
David is his boss, the guy who manages all of the PPECS staff who work to ensure our technology is both available and operational. And it's not like he doesn't already have enough to do, either.
But I asked them, anyway. Should we find a way to bring Avid into the school, not as part of our curriculum (necessarily), but just to give students who want the experience with it to have that access?
It was a Park moment.
David did what he always does: he nodded. (And then he said, appropriately enough: "But where are we going to put it?")
Kevin grinned (he does that, too) and shrugged: "Sure, why not? If it means kids can play around with it, learn something about how it works, so they can put it on their resumes and go out to get a job feeling like they're better prepared....if the kids want it, I'll take care of it, I can do that. That's not a problem."
Later, Kevin came up to my office to tell me he'd done the research, figured out how much it was going to cost, where we could put the two stations -- how we could make it happen.
And then he talked with real passion about why we should always put students first, why we need to be positive and enthusiastic when you push us to improve or even when you break the equipment (hey, you're learning!), and why we must stay current and cutting-edge ourselves so we can ensure that you have the best possible learning experiences, both in your classrooms and outside of them.
He described a Park School that truly is a culture of yes.
I told Kevin that he is one of the people I am most grateful for this Thanksgiving.
I meant it.