Happy New Year and Happy New Decade!

I wonder how many weeks it will take for me to quit putting “19” in the year section of the date. With that said, HAPPY NEW YEAR and HAPPY NEW DECADE!!!

WOW, 2020! If you had asked me back when I was in college 40 years ago what 2020 would look like, I don’t think I would have said that the iconic movies and TV shows of my youth would still be going strong. I couldn’t imagine then, that a “new” Star Wars with the “old” actors would be the top movie, Sylvester Stallone as Rambo would still be fighting the bad guys, Michael Myers would be back for Halloween 18 with Jamie Lee Curtis, the original Ghostbusters would be returning to the big screen and live reboots of “All in the Family” and “Good Times” would be on TV.

In fact, if you had told me that was what the future had in store in 40 years, I probably would have laughed at you! And yet, here we are! I think it goes to the fact that there is real comfort in our past and the nostalgia that goes with it. Not going to lie, seeing an 82-year-old Billy Dee Williams at the helm of the Millennium Falcon this winter break brought a smile to my face and took me right back to the “Empire Strikes Back” and suddenly I was a kid again!

I am fighting this very thing in my own heart when it comes to the changes we are making in CTE. The past is warm and fuzzy in my life-I think that’s what nostalgia is all about-I have fond memories of my early days as an educator in Winter Garden (somehow the bad memories faded away with time). I relive those moments every time I am on the OTC – Westside Campus. From my first time walking into the then library in 1987 to looking at all the trees that my students and I actually planted in the front of the school back in 1990-92, the memories are one of my favorite things about visiting there. I know that in the next couple of years, I will be losing those iconic real-life reminders of the past, but I also know that the new school, which is truly needed, will build a whole new set of memories for all those who will walk those halls.

Vision 2024: Orange Technical College – Westside Campus

The new “West” campus will not be my Westside-the one that I cut my teaching teeth in-and losing the building will be tough for me on a personal level, but the truth is that the great memories of the Westside Campus will be with me until I just can’t remember anymore whether the existing building is there or not. Trust me, I get it-change and loss is hard. Nostalgia is great, but moving forward to make us better at Changing Lives Through Education, while painful in some ways, is even greater. I saw that when the old West Orange High School, my West Orange High School, was replaced with a new, much, much better school for my daughter when she attended there.

I believe we will all see the good when the new and refurbished schools replace what, for many of us, are special places despite their age and unique challenges. The past is wonderful and safe in so many ways and the future is scary and full of change, but 2020 will see us turn the first shovel of dirt on our journey to Vision 2024! I can’t wait, despite the personal loss I will feel, and hope that each of you is just as excited as I am at what will be!

Have a great start to the decade and a great CTE Week!