Pupils learned lesson during MEMS’ closing

In a perfect world, everything goes exactly as planned. There are no surprises, nothing unexpected and no glitches. Unfortunately none of us live in a town, state, country or world that is perfect. There are no exemptions for the Manalapan Englishtown Middle School (MEMS)

MEMS was supposed to be ready for opening day on Sept. 11, 2006. “Supposed” is the key word in that sentence. Nobody was happy when Sept. 11 passed having been advised that the school was not ready. “Nobody” is the key word in that sentence. Plan B was developed: 1,400 students, six elementary schools and a half-day curriculum.

Having said all that, some of life’s best lessons are taught when least expected. Was I happy that my daughter was shuttled to Lafayette Mills School instead of MEMS? Of course not. However, I must commend all of the administrators, teachers, transportation department and most of all the students for turning an extremely chaotic situation into an opportunity to show how much we as a community and society can accomplish if we focus on succeeding.

What my daughter experienced in those nine days at Lafayette Mills is that if she plays the cards on the table, swings at whatever pitch is thrown, and if she always looks forward instead of behind her, life doesn’t have to be perfect. Especially when you have dedicated teachers and administrators like Gregory Duffy, the principal of Lafayette Mills, and Robert Williams, the principal of MEMS, who never once compromised the educational expectations or commitment to all the students in their charge.

This was much more than a tremendous inconvenience for the families of the 1,400. This was an opportunity to teach them by experience and example that you have to be able to deal with the unexpected, and not use it as an excuse to fail, but as an opportunity to persevere. The ability to teach our kids to be ready to move to plan B, C or D if that’s what it takes is the skill that makes success realistic and obtainable. This is a skill, when mastered, that lasts a lifetime. Even when you live in a town, state, country and world that’s not so perfect.

Wanda Minken