Letter from the President: Relay for Life will be held in 2010

Dr. Bob Tift

One of my intense passions is the study of leadership. I find myself compelled to attend conferences, enroll in graduate courses, and read anything that I can about leadership. In my years of study I have learned a great deal about leadership. Effective leadership often involves making unpopular decisions; decisions based on information available at the time of the decision. Sometimes, additional information is subsequently made available that compels a leader to reconsider that decision, as was the case with Relay for Life.

Last Friday, members of the Student Council (Ryan Quinlivan, Erin Katopodis, Kelsey Jacobson, and Daniel Nelson) met with Dr. Skinner and me to discuss the issues surrounding the decision not to host the Relay for Life event at BSM this year. They had requested the meeting because they wanted to hear directly from the administration the reasons for our decision. They also wanted to make their case on behalf of the students, of why we should reconsider our decision. Essentially, they exhibited the leadership skills that they were elected by their fellow students to perform.

While there were many reasons that went into the decision not to host Relay for Life, (including fundraising conflicts, logistical concerns due to pending construction on our fields, neighbor concerns, and supervision issues), I have now concluded that the benefits of hosting the event outweigh those concerns. For those reasons, which were so effectively communicated to me by your student leaders, I have decided to reverse my decision, and will now support BSM hosting the Relay for Life event this spring.

I have asked Dr. Skinner and Mrs. Andersen to immediately begin working with the students and staff event organizers to discuss how to best address the supervisory and logistical issues, while at the same time, offering our support for the event. This summer, I will ask our administration to meet with our event organizers to jointly evaluate the event, and to determine if it will be held the following year.

It is a valued tradition at BSM to teach our students about the importance of giving to others. An important component of ensuring the success and sustainability of this wonderful school community is the promotion of a culture of philanthropy. All of what we enjoy each day in our school facilities and campus are in place because of the generosity of others. After hearing the compelling arguments that Ryan Quinlivan and his fellow leaders shared with me, I now believe I had underestimated the significance of the impact that last year’s Relay for Life had on our students and staff. It is in that spirit, that I am writing this letter to the students of BSM in support of the Relay for Life event.

Dr. Bob Tift