March Magnanimous · 14 March 2015
Graphic by Ray LaBate and Michael Ruhland
March Magnanimous is underway at Cedarcrest High School (CHS) in Duvall, Washington. No, that is not a typo. Even though March Madness takes over much of the country, magnanimity not madness takes over in March at our small high school.
If you have ever wondered what one person can do, all you need to do is look around. For better or worse, individuals have made a difference throughout history. Jesus, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr. These few and many more have turned their world if not the whole world upside down in many good ways. And we can too.
One person at our high school has always believed this and he helps our students believe it too. R, as my friend Mike is known throughout the known universe (or at least at good ol’ CHS), is our Associated Student Body (ASB) advisor. He does not like the attention (in fact, he told me to leave him out of this piece), but he is always pushing the kids to do their best and make a good life better for all our students. One of the things R has done is to have the ASB kids put up one word signs around the school. Signs with “Smile” and “Laugh” and “Positive” and “Duck!” started popping up around the school one year. (Sorry, I could not resist putting in the last one. It is one of those “R things” to throw stuff in that is untrue, does not make sense, is just whacky, or all the aforementioned.) I am not sure what effect the positive stuff had on the students, but people got a kick out of them.
As part of this exercise, one of the students decided that magnanimous was her word. Molly put out the sign and then the whole thing exploded. In a good way.
March Magnanimous was born from just that one word and that one person. She wanted to let people know that they could be magnanimous. That they could be generous and forgiving. That they could reach out to others who were less fortunate. March sounded like a good month to be magnanimous since there was the whole alliteration thing and because March Madness would get underway as well. So with Molly’s help, March Magnanimous was born.
What better way to celebrate March Magnanimous than with a tournament. (After all, there is another big tournament that starts in March.)
That first year, the “tournament” had something to do with being nice. Somehow teams were scored on an index of magnanimity. And through some mumbo jumbo scoring techniques, a winner was produced after several weeks. I am not sure I was the only one who thought it strange, but it was a nice thought. A great effort. And who knows, maybe people were nicer in March than they were the rest of the year.
Last year, the tournament really became a tournament. Three-on-three basketball was the name of the game. Students, staff, boys, and girls were invited to play. The final game was played in front of the whole student body at an assembly and one of those two teams had a teacher on it. It was a nice way to end March Magnanimous.
But the March Magnanimous tournament was not just for fun. There was an entry fee, part of which was donated to some worthy cause. And even though the competitive juices flowed, the tournament brought out the best in people. So much so that this year more students and staff members played in the tournament. The staff members were spread around on student (and alumni) teams and had a great time banging around shooting hoops.
I am not sure just how much nicer people are during March Magnanimous. After all, people at our school are pretty nice all the time. But what amazes me is that our students with and without much direction are working to make life better for those around them. R and Molly and a bunch of students who may or may not even be in ASB leadership or in any club or organization are out there making Cedarcrest and their world outside school a better place. It makes me feel good to know that those kids are going to be taking care of the whole world someday. It makes me remember that one person really can change the world. And I can put R on my list of people with significant influence who have changed my world.
Thanks to Molly and R, March Magnanimous is underway at Cedarcrest High School. Let the magnanimity continue.
© 2015 Michael T. Miyoshi
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