Not the Flat Route…

As many of you know, the flattest and often quickest walking route from the Pine/Octavia campus to the Broadway campus is along Pine Street to Webster Street.

Recently I was walking to Broadway from my office with our President, Dr. Ann Marie Krejcarek, and the Head of the girls’ high school, Rachel Simpson.  At Laguna Street, Ann Marie turned right and headed straight up the first of three steep hills to the top of Lafayette Park.

When I shared with her that there was a preferred route, she replied that she wanted the hill and that it would be good for all of us to get in the extra exercise.  Rachel and I kept our composure as best we could, “hoofing it” to keep up with Ann Marie as she plowed her way along in what felt, at least in San Francisco terms, like the heat of the day.  Given her pace, and my resulting shortness of breath, she certainly found a way to get me to limit my words, which most of you know is nearly impossible.

I have found that this is Ann Marie’s M.O.  To say she does not shy away from challenges, or that she is not afraid of hard work, would be understatement.  She tackles the most difficult route.  When I was in Costa Rica I learned from our sophomore trip hosts that she and her husband scaled Cirripó, the tallest mountain the country (and from which one can see the Caribbean and the Pacific), in one day.  According to a site regarding the country’s tallest peak, most people take two to three days.

This is the same Ann Marie who learned of our Service Learning trips to Uganda, Mexico, and New Orleans and wanted to maximize such opportunities to a completely different scale.  A 20-student trip in Mexico is ambitious, and yet we now have 110 sophomores in Costa Rica.

When she values the destination, she attacks the very toughest path.

When I asked her about this quality, and how she got this way, she spoke of her parents, who grew up in the Depression, and who instilled in her that sometimes the only way “out” is “through” with hard work.

As I reflected on what other experiences and events must have nurtured this quality in her, I also reflected on our own guys, who are not growing up in a Depression.  What about our guys who give their best every day, in an era in which “there is an app for that” – and we don’t even have to exert the miniscule effort required to “push” a button…all we have to do is lightly touch our thumb to a screen!  Our seniors with amazing early decision news from colleges did not gain acceptances by falling out of bed…they drove themselves with consistency over these three and a half years.

The Sacred Heart philosophy of education is not geared toward the easy way.  With regard to discipline, for example, it is infinitely easier to have pigeon-holed rules regarding consequences than it is to work with individuals and try to affect change within them and with others.  It is a focus on the transformative power of relationships, and relationships take work and are messy.

As with anything, it’s about moderation, too.  One of my first supervisors in my time in the corporate world was less interested in the number of hours I was working each day and more interested in my efficiency in meeting goals.  “Smarter, not harder,” he used to say.

Then you have someone like Ann Marie, who replaces the “not” with an “and” – “smarter and harder”.

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