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Wise Words and Lessons Learned

At a staff training workshop in August, CIS Executive Director Molly Shaw introduced the theme of “T.E.A.L.” – Teamwork, Excellence, Advocacy, and Leadership – as a focus for the coming year. Shaw invited Cidney Holliday – a CIS graduate and gifted writer - to share an essay she wrote, based on the T.E.A.L. theme, at the workshop. Cidney is a 2011 graduate of South Mecklenburg High School and now a freshman at Davidson College.

By Cidney Holliday, CIS Graduate

Cidney Holliday headshot"August 25th 1998, my mother dropped me off on the front step of Our Lady of Good Counsel Kindergarten classroom. I. Was. Terrified. So, armed with pigtails and a peanut butter sandwich, I was ready to combat any rug-rat. But, I soon realized that maybe 5-year-olds weren’t that dangerous. And maybe arts and crafts, and naptime, and picture books were indeed the essential parts of life.

Looking back, naptime was a luxury. And everything should follow the golden rule. And I now realize the most important things in life I learned when I was just five. Like Teamwork: building blocks are too big to tackle alone, sort of like life is. So having a buddy along the way makes all the difference. Like Excellence: nobody liked getting their ticket pulled, nobody. You learn at a young age how to act accordingly and how to get to pick from the treasure chest on Thursdays. Like Advocacy: I remember in kindergarten mid-way through, there was a little girl I knew named Kate. She had sandy hair and freckles that looked like ants crawling on her face. One day she sat alone at recess crying. I asked her what was the matter and she pointed to a bully. So I did what anyone would have done: I tattled. And I may have gotten a stink eye or two but that afternoon I learned to stand up for what I believed in. And I learned that traits like line leading can follow you home, and I learned more in those eight months than I could fit into this poem.

So on this Sunday, August 14th 2011, I will set off to Davidson College, armed with the same fear and just a few more teeth. These traits of Teamwork, of Excellence, of Advocacy, of Leadership, will follow me to my dorm room and beyond. As you can probably see by now, “T.E.A.L.” is more than just a Crayola colored crayon from a box. They are four words that helped to mold me into the woman that I now am. I’m sure we all had a little “teal” touch in our life. Even if I only started as a scared kid in a sandbox swing set, I still kick my feet and imagine I can go high enough to touch the sky."

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