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GRIT:  Fighting for Understanding

“Heroes are never perfect, but they’re brave, they’re authentic, they’re courageous, determined, discreet, and they’ve got grit.”  Wade Davis


At Hope, we have a unique opportunity to work with students individually and personally.  It is our desire that all of our students are successful, are able to follow their dreams and reach their goals.  One of the ways that we help our students to actually realize their dreams is through teaching them that it is normal and good to fail.  And then encouraging them to get back up again when they fall and keep trying.  Anything worth doing is not easy.  Learning is worth doing.


Angela Duckworth, the author of the book ‘Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance’ has discovered through several studies “that grit—comprising a person’s perseverance and passion—is among the most important predictors of success and that we all have the power to increase our inner grit.”


As the 7th and 8th grade math teacher at Hope, I find I repeat myself almost every day.  I will tell my students, “Fight for understanding”.  I also don’t allow my students to use the word “can’t” in my classroom.  Feel free to come see my sign above my door that says “Say NO to Can’t”.  I tell them that perhaps they haven’t learned the math yet but that doesn’t mean that they can’t.


Learning won’t just happen. Students need the skills to learn how to make mistakes and learn from them.  They need to know how to put in the necessary effort to press through when learning feels hard.  Hope allows students to learn how to persevere, be comfortable with who they were meant to be and to reach for their dreams.


We hear stories of our Hope students as they are venturing into their chosen high schools.  They tell us that they are in the top of their classes in Math and many have tested into honors level classes.  They tell us that they learned the skills needed to do hard things.  They tell us that they have the skills to be successful.  Goal accomplished!


I am so grateful to be able to work with such an amazing group of students at this amazing school called Hope.  Every day I see students fighting for understanding, exploring their passions and I know that we have heroes in our midst.


Sara Kunkel

8th Grade Homeroom

Middle School Math and Faith Teacher


For more about GRIT, check out Angela Duckworth’s Ted Talk – “The Power of Grit”