UNcommon Sense: Outlaw Standard

by Corey Holland

The 2023-24 School Year theme is "The Outlaw Standard: Hard Work, Integrity, and Perseverance." It is important in any organization to set a standard of expectation. In the case of the school, this is the standard for students and employees alike. These foundational principles are key to creating an environment where all members have the best opportunity to achieve their potential.

Hard work. By today's standard, "hard work" is bad for two reasons. First, hard implies it will not be easy and that alone becomes a barrier many will use as an excuse to not even try. Work is also a stumbling block these days as we have convinced ourselves that the path of least resistance is the way to go. Fortunately, the Marlow Outlaws understand anything worth achieving is going to be hard and require work to accomplish. This value is important because hard-working people consistently give great effort in all they do. Rather than look for shortcuts or make excuses, hard workers dig deep and get things done.

Integrity. Many people prefer to view integrity as gray rather than black and white. When applied in this manner, it often leads to finger-pointing and passing blame. True integrity demands personal responsibility. Living with integrity does not mean there will never be mistakes made. Integrity does not imply perfection. Instead, it is accountability, honesty, and sincerity all rolled into one. Put simply, integrity is doing the right thing when no one else is looking. People of integrity follow through on commitments made, avoid gossip, admit when they are wrong, are respectful and trustworthy. When everyone else follows the crowd, people of integrity stand firm on the truth and their principles.

Perseverance. Nothing represents the Outlaw standard in my mind more than this does. In the movie Rocky Balboa, Rocky tries to convey the meaning of perseverance while speaking to his son. He tells his son, "Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain't you! You're better than that! I'm always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You're my son and you're my blood. You're the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, ya ain't gonna have a life."

Yeah, Rocky is definitely an Outlaw. And with our staff and students having hard work, integrity, and perseverance as our focus, we hope to be the best Outlaws we can be as well.

Corey Holland is Superintendent of Marlow Public School District