'Six years from now I'll be on the stage to hand you your diploma'

Superintendent Stan Jefferson talks with sixth-graders in Jeff Secriskey’s classroom at Malabar Intermediate School.

      Some students knew who he was. Others didn’t. But by the time Superintendent Stan Jefferson had visited four schools Thursday morning many had heard a message of working hard and showing respect.

      Jefferson began a series of weekly visits to all schools, starting with random classroom stops at Prospect and Woodland elementary schools, Malabar Intermediate and Spanish Immersion, before arriving downtown to address the noon meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Mansfield.

      “Just as you use a key to unlock your house, education is the key to your future,” Jefferson told Malabar sixth-graders in Jeff Secriskey’s room. “Whether you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, a nurse or whatever, we are here to get you started on a career pathway.”

      Down the hall in Jennifer Plaisted’s classroom, Jefferson asked her sixth-graders the meaning of the district’s new hashtag, #HearUsRoar.

      “It means to growl real loud,” one said.

      “To show we’re proud,” said another.

      “That’s right,” Jefferson said. “You’re going to learn and have fun with your classmates. When other kids ask where you go to school, you’ll be proud to say “Malabar!”

      At each stop, the superintendent drove home the same message:

      -- “Listen to your teachers as they give you excellent instruction.

      -- “Respect one another.

      -- “Respect your teachers.”

      Secriskey called attention to the national championship ring Jefferson wears as a member of Ohio State University's 2014 football coaching staff. As director of player development, he was responsible for assuring that team members maintained academic eligibility.

      “He made sure that those athletes were performing not just on the field but in the classroom,” Secriskey said. “He earned that ring through hard work and dedication.”

      Jefferson nodded, adding that each year the Buckeyes won the Big 10 football title during his tenure, they also ranked first academically.

      “Keep working hard,” Jefferson told the class, “and six years from now I'lll be on the stage at graduation to hand you your diploma.”

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