Critical Transformations, an apt theme against the backdrop of the River Walk in San Antonio.
80 years ago, the San Antonio River, coursed through the city, pulsing with the rhythms rivers are prone to — mainly intermittent flooding. The 1924 flood proved especially devastating, taking over 50 lives.
As the adage goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
Plans were hatched to dam the river, build a bypass and pave over the remaining piddle that would remain in the original river bed, demoting it to basic sewer duty.
Local architect Robert Hugman, envisioned, proposed, and fought for the River Walk, which was initially poorly received, understandably. Memories of death and destruction were still fresh in everyone’s minds and the thought of creating a pedestrian and commerce center didn’t sit well.
Hugman persisted and began to win support, eventually becoming the project architect in 1939 when critical funding came through. In 1946 when the next major flood threatened the area, his multi-tiered flood control system was put to the test, and proved effective. Or at least effective enough.
The 1968 World’s Fair brought about the next wave of development and it has been steady growth since then. Today it is an international destination, known the world over, and the inspiration for “River Walks” in cities across the globe.
As an analogy it is a fitting one for educators to consider.
What piddling streams of opportunity exist in your classroom, school, district, or state?
Who are the visionaries in your organization?
Who has the drive, the know how and the influence to make them a reality?
The path to success, born out of tragedy, came at the hands of several key themes that can be applied quite readily to leadership in education:
And so we descend, en masse, to gather bits of knowledge, to share ideas, collaborate, corroborate, and to find — perhaps within ourselves, within others, or from the vibrancy of this downtown — the strength & inspiration to bring about critical transformations back at home.