I have had the opportunity to talk one on one with Mr. Strickland while walking him to one of the workshops. One of the main reasons I like Mr. Bill Strickland talk is that, like a good speaker and book, its story continues to unfold until the very last. There is a point in his speech, where Mr. Bill talks about his dream/passion as a child of becoming an airline pilot. And guess what? Yes, he did in fact become one; while he was in the midst of building this amazing center Mr. Bill trained to become a commercial airline pilot. Furthermore, it made me wonder, how did a young black man, who lived in a rough neighborhood of Pittsburgh and had very little money, manage to get 200 hours flight experience needed to make his dream come true? Well, he purchased an airplane and then leased it back to a flying school. The flight school maintained the plane, and the money from the lease paid back his loan. Moreover, I recall what Mr. Bill said,
“Good sense would have told me that my dream was impossible, and when the mind accepts impossibility, the game is over. But that’s the power of genuine passion – it ignores the impossible and gives you the drive you need to do whatever you have to do to make a dream come true, no matter how extreme, or unlikely, or absurd those actions might seem.”
Over the past three decades, Mr. Bill Strickland has helped change the lives of thousands of people through the establishment of Manchester Bidwell. The center provides a jobs training and community arts programs located in Pittsburgh. The center works with corporations, community leaders, and schools to help give disadvantaged kids and young adults the opportunities and provide them with tools they need to pursue and build a better future.
Although, I have had various debates with friends regarding the differences/ similarities between both Mr. Strickland and Mr. Kozol speeches. I, nonetheless, believe that Mr. Strickland truly is a man who, through what seems to be an endless reserve of commitment, hard work, dedication, creativity, and hope, has proved that the impossible truly is indeed possible.
This is my question: Should we strive for better ''looking'' schools or should we strive for more passionate/better and well paid teachers?