If you are not familiar with Katy Perry’s song, Roar, you may want to take a moment to familiarize yourself with the lyrics! We all have things in our lives that hold us back, keep us down, try to prevent us from being and becoming who we are meant to be.

“I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath. Scared to rock the boat and make a mess. So I sat quietly, agree politely…you held me down, but I got up; already brushing off the dust. You hear my voice…you hear that sound, like thunder gonna shake the ground…you held me down, but I got up. Get ready cause I’ve had enough. I see it all, I see I t now.. I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire cause I am a champion you’re gonna hear me ROAR. Louder, louder than a lion cause I am a champion and you’ve gonna hear me ROAR…Now I’m floating like a butterfly stingy like a bee. I earned stripes. I went from zero, to my own hero…”

In my educator days, for a poetry unit, I used Katy Perry’s song and lyrics to help middle school students find their voice and their “rise above” action. This learning experience was extremely empowering for my students and we had some beautiful sharing sessions where they shared from their hearts!

Why was this song and curriculum unit so important to me? In hind site, perhaps it was because I had my own life events to rise above and would there be more to come? Quite possibly!

We all have moments or chapters in our lives that are bumps in the road. For me, as an adult looking back, I rose above the first bump, which was my parents’ divorce. The next big hurdle was my run-in with cancer at the early age of 31. Then, after 19 years as a well respected educator, with 19 years teaching experience, the next bump in the road came; I was accused of leaving a mark on a child. This was an absolute mortifying day in my career! When all was said and done, the child eventually admitted to making it all up. However, I was the one that had to go back to the classroom and teach after being interrogated by the young, inexperienceced, administrative staff. I was the one that had to undergo a police investigation when I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I had not left a mark on that child! (Not to mention, I had been an investigator for Child Protective Services prior to my teaching career). I was the one that was told by the Assistant Superintendent and principal that the child would remain in my classroom and on my team for the duration of the school year. I was the one that lived in shame and embarrassment of the false accusation! Why?? I also was the one that finally stood up and said I would not allow a student to prevent me from reaching my goal of completing 20 years in education. I had one year to go and I was not going to let that one student, who made the false allegation, prevent me from obtaining my goal. In Katy Perry’s words, it was time for me to ROAR! At the end of the school year, I interviewed and accepted another position in the building and took over a relatively new program for my last year, helping underachieving students in math, achieve success.

As for the student who made the false accusation, there were absolutely no consequences! At the time, I felt that was very unfair! What I do know is that student will have his/her own life events to overcome…and when that time comes, perhaps Katy Perry’s lyrics will come to mind and offer some strength and guidance.

So how do life events, or bumps in the road, have anything to do with where I am today? It’s simple…I vowed the day I left education, I would never return…and I set out on a new path that eventually, over time, led me to Above the Spurs! You see, when one door closes, look for the next door to open. When it opens…take the next step! 

This is where Above the Spurs was born …