Monticello High School Principal Stephen Wilder made his way around the building recently, making sure he saw every member of the staff to thank them for all of their hard work. He handed out bracelets to each staff member which read “Semper Gumby.”
Hmm. Thank goodness he also provided an slip of paper with an explanation:
This phrase was used regularly during my time in the US Marine Corps. The phrase is a spin from Semper Fidelis or Semper Fi (Latin for “Always Faithful” and is also the Marine Corps motto) and the flexible clay character. The phrase was used as a joking reminder to remain flexible to the constant changes that military life brings. It was a way to redirect frustration about the constant changes into a mindset of flexibility and being able to improvise, adapt, and overcome. As Charles Darwin is known for saying, “It is not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” As educators and school professionals, especially in this time of the COVID pandemic, you know all too well the trials of constant change. So, the next time the plan changes, and it will, think “Semper Gumby” and give it your best. Semper Gumby!”
Thank you to Principal Wilder for his positive outlook and for consistently supporting his faculty and staff.