MSD of
Mount Vernon
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Tag, You’re It…

Principal's Perspective Principal's Perspective

No more pencils, no more books.  No more teacher’s dirty looks.  For those of you who are familiar with 1970’s Rock and Roll, you’ll recognize those lyrics.  School is almost out for Summer.  

For students, the final days of school are often a whirlwind of emotions. There's a sense of accomplishment in completing another chapter of their educational journey, yet there's also a twinge of sadness as they bid farewell to friends, teachers, and familiar routines. The classroom, once a sanctuary of learning and laughter, now stands as a silent witness to the memories created over the past year.

For teachers, the end of the school year brings a mix of exhaustion and fulfillment. They've poured their hearts and souls into shaping young minds, guiding students through challenges, and inspiring them to reach for the stars. There's pride in seeing how much their students have grown in the last 10 months, but there's also a sense of melancholy in saying goodbye to a class they've grown to love. 

For Parents and Guardians; tag, you’re it.  Junior High aged students need you more now than ever before.  Encourage your student to get involved in all that the school and community has to offer over the summer.  Encourage them to pick up a book and read about something they are passionate about.  Encourage them to get outside and play.  My personal belief is that students this age need to play without using technology.  Set aside some time for you and your student to do something, anything together.  As a father of two boys who are 16 and 20, time goes by quickly, so don't take this summer break for granted.  

Whether we're students bidding adieu to familiar faces, teachers imparting their final lessons, or parents guiding the next steps, let's seize the summer ahead as a time for growth, connection, and making memories.

Marc Hostetter
Principal, MVJHS

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You gotta hit the Grit before you hit the Griddy...

Gritt_20240224-145824_1 Principal's Perspective

In our contemporary society, the emphasis on talent and IQ in hiring decisions, discussions about athletes, and praise for successful business people is undeniable. It’s easy to write off other people's success because they were born with talent or a high IQ in their field. But does possessing talent and a high IQ truly guarantee success? I contend that there's a crucial factor—Grit—that plays a significantly more vital role in determining success.

Grit is the quality that enables individuals to overcome obstacles, persevere through failures, and ultimately dictates the level of success one achieves. The challenge we face, especially concerning our youth, is understanding how to cultivate grit. I am not the first to assert that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work. Recently, Angela Duckworth explored this concept in her book, "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance." Her research on some of the most successful people in America revealed that effort is twice as important as anything else when it comes to reaching goals or achieving success.

Duckworth proposes that when you combine your talents with effort, you develop skills. Taking those skills and multiplying them with more effort leads to achievement. While your talent can influence how quickly you see results, it's the combination of talent and effort that determines the level of your skill set.  That skill set combined with passion and perseverance to achieve a long term goal is Grit.

Now, the question becomes: how do we instill grit in our youth? My solution, because it's important to offer solutions alongside identifying problems, is to encourage involvement. Find something your child is interested in and support that interest.  The options in our area are endless. Whether one loves the outdoors, arts, academics or athletics, there are numerous opportunities to explore and develop passion. The MSD of MV offers various opportunities for our youth to discover what they are passionate about. By finding something a student is interested in, practicing with purpose, and embracing a Growth Mindset, they can develop Grit—a necessary block that lies in the middle of our Pyramid of Excellence. While Grit does not guarantee success; without Grit, it is almost guaranteed you will not sustain any long term success.

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Igniting Success: The Power of Enthusiasm

star students Principal's Perspective

"Nothing great is ever accomplished without enthusiasm," claimed Ralph Waldo Emerson, and he couldn't have been more right. In previous Principal Perspectives, we delved into industriousness and the growth mindset, two crucial elements for success. Yet, there's a vital catalyst that propels our efforts into the realm of the extraordinary: enthusiasm.

Let's face it, we don't wake up each day in a fairy tale world, singing praises about work or school. Challenges, stress, and deadlines are part of our daily landscape. But amidst this reality, cultivating enthusiasm becomes our secret weapon.

Enthusiasm infuses hard work with an inspired power, essential for individual success. Imagine this: your attitude can be as contagious as the common cold. Greeting peers or colleagues with positivity becomes a daily habit that sets the tone for you and everyone around you. Instead of viewing challenges as insurmountable problems, approach them as opportunities waiting to be conquered. Even a simple adjustment in posture can transform a defeated mindset into one that's inspired—try striking a Superman pose and not feel a surge of empowerment!

Now, success isn't a one-size-fits-all concept. For me, it aligns with John Wooden's perspective: it's about finding peace of mind, knowing you've given your best to become the best you're capable of being.

But here's the kicker: success shies away from apathy and negativity like the plague. If you want success knocking on your door, exude excitement, radiate enthusiasm, and emit positivity. Enthusiasm, passion, and positivity—they're contagious. People gravitate toward these qualities, and success follows suit.

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Industriousness... What?

385027450_853843013413367_9104141964910726561_n Principal Perspective

All roads that lead to success have to pass through hard work boulevard at some point.

Are you a bit of a nerd?  I know I am.  I find myself drawn to straight lines, spreadsheets, and non-fiction books.  Do you share my fascination with what it takes to be successful?  Do you wonder how we can develop habits in our youth that lead them to success?  If you’re nodding your head, you’re not alone.  Developing daily habits often leads to a lifelong quest for self-improvement and achievement.  

If you’re familiar with Indiana native and legendary basketball coach John Wooden, you might know about his Pyramid of Success.  Because I can’t help myself, I’ve crafted my own version, known as the Pyramid of Excellence.  Three foundational blocks in this pyramid are Enthusiasm, Growth Mindset and Industriousness.  In a previous Principal Perspective, I delved into Growth Mindset, and in the future, I’ll explore the realm of Enthusiasm.  Today, let’s focus on the cornerstone of Industriousness.  

According to Dictionary.com, industriousness is defined as the constant, energetic, or devoted effort. It signifies hard work—very hard work. It's essential to understand that there's no substitute for extreme dedication and effort when it comes to achieving real success. From the grandest of achievements to the smallest of victories, it all starts with a strong work ethic.  I have not known any individual anywhere who achieved real success without working extremely hard.

As parents, we often wish for our children to lead better lives than we did. Sometimes, we mistakenly equate "easier" with "better." It's important to remind ourselves that allowing our kids to face and overcome challenges is a vital part of their growth. Productive struggle necessitates effort, and to surmount obstacles, industriousness is the key. It's an idea we can all agree upon: industriousness is a precursor to success. After all, why do all roads to success lead through Hard Work Boulevard?

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We Are MV!!!

day-of-caring Principal Perspective

"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across waters to create many ripples."
Mother Teresa


As fall graces our town, we witness the changing leaves and shorter daylight on our daily commutes.  In Mt. Vernon, we’ve enjoyed community events like the Homecoming football game, River Days, United Way Day of Caring and honoring our fall sports programs.  At the Junior High, we’re busy with our annual Reality Store for 8th graders, inviting professionals to speak to 7th graders and gearing up for Family Fun Night in October.

All of this reminds me why I joined the field of public education - for our community, families, students and staff.  Public schools focus on people, nurturing our students’ growth and preparing them for life, careers, college and service.  I’m proud to be part of MSD of MV and the Junior High family, where our shared values include education, community involvement and supporting each other.

Having spent nearly 13 years in this community, I don’t get caught up in national news or social media; I know you, I know this town and I believe in its potential.  Our focus should be on what truly matters to us - our children, our community and our future.  Mt. Vernon Junior High is here to serve your needs, and while we may face challenges, we face them together and I hope they always lead to positive growth.  

This fall, let’s celebrate our community and our shared values.  Let’s all remember that while we may not have the power to impact the world single-handedly, we can still cast a stone into the water to create countless ripples of positive change.  

Marc Hostetter
Principal, MVJHS

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Can't ain't never done Nothin...

Front-entrance-all-kids-and-staff Principal Perspective

The first few weeks of school every year are filled with excitement, anxiety and challenges.  So as we embark on another year at Mt. Vernon Junior High I want to encourage us all to commit to being better.  I want us to commit to a Growth Mindset.  

A growth mindset is not just a theory; it's a philosophy that transforms the way we approach challenges, setbacks, and opportunities. It's about understanding that our abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort, learning, and perseverance. Instead of shying away from difficulties, those with a growth mindset embrace them, knowing that the path to success is paved with trials, errors and failure.

The saying “Can’t ain’t never done nothin” encapsulates a profound truth: a lack of action or effort yields no results.  When we look at a challenge and say “I can’t do that” we rob ourselves of an opportunity to grow, learn and achieve.  Growth does not come from idle hands, but from stepping out of our comfort zone and getting comfortable being uncomfortable.  Our abilities are not fixed, our abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work.  The first step is always trying and never saying I can’t.  

As the MVJHS family, let’s commit ourselves to a growth mindset, let’s strive to be a community that faces challenges with enthusiasm, views setbacks as opportunities for growth and transforms our lives through relentless effort.  The next time you’re confronted with doubt or challenges, remember that a growth mindset coupled with action can lead to extraordinary accomplishments.  We know this because Can’t ain’t never done Nothin.   

Marc Hostetter
Principal, MVJHS

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