Dear Clarkston Community Schools Families,
It’s here! We made it to the end of the year!
As I reflect on the past nine months, I see all the ups and downs we have experienced. We are ending on a high note because we did it together. Our staff, parents, and community have rallied around our students, and I am genuinely grateful for their trust and support.
Even more so, I am proud of our students. I am in awe of their perseverance and resilience. I have no doubt that they will continue to reach their goals and go further than they ever thought possible.
A few weeks ago, I delivered my address to the Clarkston High School Class of 2022. Then a few days later, I received an email from Keri Taverna, the proud mother of graduate Joey Taverna. She explained that they used a portion of my speech as their motto at Joey’s last race this weekend, and it worked. Joey broke the school record by one second in the final race of his high school career. Then last week, I gave the same advice to the Renaissance graduates at their commencement ceremony. Still, after hearing from Keri, I realized this was a motivational tip worth sharing with all of you before you head off and enjoy your summer.
On May 7, 2022, Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby. He was number 21 in a field of 20. He was a late entry that wasn’t even supposed to be there. He was the longest shot, the literal dark horse, yet we all watched him emerge from the back of the pack to triumph against all odds. In just over two minutes, he completely changes the narrative.
I believe this is possible because horses don’t know the odds. They run every race without the faintest thought of past failures or successes. They stand beside the other horses, and when the starting gate flies open, they just run. You will be in many races in your life, and I implore you to bet on yourself every time.
You will succeed even when nobody else thinks you will win.
So when the next starting gate in your life opens, ignore the odds. Just run! Keep your focus, tune out the noise, and be the horse.
Thank you for a fantastic year. Enjoy your summer. You deserve it!
We will see you in the fall!
Dr. Shawn Ryan
PHOTO: Clarkston High School senior Joey Taverna races in the third OAA Red Jamboree, October 2021, finishing in first place. Photo: Wendi Reardon Price