Telling the story of Westside Preparatory School, Marva Collins writes, “What I so desperately wanted to give them (my students) was the substance, not the trappings, of an education.” As a result, she penned the following school creed.
Society will draw a circle that shuts me out, but my superior thoughts will draw me in. I was born to win if I do not spend too much time trying to fail. I will ignore the tags and names given me by society since only I know what I have the ability to become.
Failure is just as easy to combat as success is to obtain. Education is painful and not gained by playing games. Yet it is my privilege to destroy myself if that is what I choose to do. I have the right to fail, but I do not have the right to take other people with me. God made me the captain of only one life – my own.
It is my right to care nothing about myself, but I must be willing to accept the consequences for that failure, and I must never think that those who have chosen to work, while I played, rested, and slept, will share their bounties with me. My success and my education can be companions that no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, and no enemy can alienate. Without education man is a slave, a savage wandering from here to there believing whatever he is told.
Time and chance come to us all. I can be either hesitant or courageous. I can swiftly stand up and shout: “This is my time and place. I will accept the challenge.”*
The children of Westside Prep were required to know this by heart.
Maybe we all should.
*Marva Collins’ Way, Marva Collins and Civia Tamarkin