Art imitates life: Overcoming obstacles takes teamwork

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Movies inspire me, and many of you know that I often use movie analogies to illustrate or reinforce a particular point. Last weekend, like millions of other moviegoers, my youngest son Anthony and I went to see Avengers: Age of Ultron. We share a love for action movies, and after seeing this one we debated over who was the coolest superhero: Captain America or Thor. Now that’s a tough choice.

What wasn’t tough was seeing the similarity in this movie to the hard work of the Dallas ISD team.

At one point in the movie, the members of the Avengers are nearly defeated. They had to regroup and figure out how they could beat their new foes. Tony Stark, the Iron Man character, asks his colleagues how they could possibly win. Captain America simply said, “Together.” “And if we lose?” Stark pressed. Without hesitation, Captain America replied, “Then we’ll do that together, too.”

Like so many other films I enjoy about the underdog, the Avengers is a great example of a team that in the face of an enormous challenge find something within themselves and each other to overcome the odds. But the journey to get there might be hard.

In Dallas ISD, we face tremendous obstacles on our path of transformation. And considering the failure of most urban districts to significantly change outcomes for its poorest students, the odds seem stacked against us. Our students face challenges, especially those that accompany poverty. They, too, are underdogs.

In the movies, the protagonists usually face a moment or series of events that test their will or character. The easy path is always an option for them – they can quit, they can turn back, they can blame others. Perhaps we are at a similar point in our “movie,” and simply need to ask ourselves if we have what it takes to keep going. I say we do, and when we win, it will be because we have won together.

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