By Mike Pinto, Principal, James Cole Elementary
I shook hands yesterday with the best bus mechanic in the entire country. Mr. Kirk Brooks joins two other TSC mechanics who have entered and won a state competition for bus maintenance and then gone on to the national competition to win that event as well. It’s awesome to have such capable people surrounding all of us. Thank goodness these skilled hands are maintaining our buses which carry our most prized possessions, our students, to and from school each day. What is amazing about this feat for me (is not the feat itself) but the affirmation that when we work with children at a young age, the possibilities are limitless.
I have included a picture from my baseball Peanut League coaching archives with this blog. If you look at the five year old being congratulated, it is none other than Kirk Brooks. You see, I coached him many, many moons ago when he was in kindergarten, and Peanut League Baseball was what all boys did to fill their summers. Kirk got one hit that year. It happened in the championship game of the Otterbein Peanut League tournament. The bases were loaded and no one was out. Kirk came to the plate with only one job: make contact. He did. The game was won and he walked away with a well-earned trophy. I will never forget that day as long as I live. It was a huge first hit for Kirk, but Kirk’s future was not going to be in athletics. Instead, his gifts come in his two hands, his mind, and his ability to see the world spatially in a way that I envy each day. You see Kirk is a skilled mechanic. He can fix things. He studies new technology, has to get along with others in his garage space, and he has to problem solve and persevere when fixes don’t come quickly or to the obvious eye. I look at this picture and then I look at Kirk now. Kirk reminds me that we are blessed to work with children each day and to have a history with their journey through life. Kirk also reminds me that with all children the possibilities are endless. I never knew when I coached that little boy all those years ago that he would grow up to be the best bus mechanic in the country. But he did. And while my baseball coaching had nothing to do with his most recent success, just knowing him and celebrating his accomplishment adds just a little more pep to my step today.