Making a Memory

Virdie Montgomery never worried about the expense or time. He understood the importance of the event, the magnitude of the torch passing.

About 30 miles Northeast of Dallas lies a little suburb called Wylie. Like many Texas towns, its railroad played a major role in its development. Back in the late 1800s, the Gulf, Colorado, and Sante Fe Railway laid tracks just north of the first townsite. Before long, the population grew — largely because of its massive onion fields spanning more than 21,000 square miles. The town was named after Lt. Colonel William D Wylie, the right of way agent for the railroad and a Civil War Veteran.     

It was not until the 2007-08 school year, though, that Wylie grew big enough to require two high schools. The first was Wylie High School. Most locals had at one time passed through its hallways, at some point donning the maroon, white, and black colors that have become Pirate staples. This year, the school will graduate 612 students. 

Virdie Montgomery, the current principal, has seen 42 graduating classes receive their diplomas. Montgomery is vastly experienced in the ceremonial importance of the passing of the torch from high school onto a new chapter — whether it’s joining the workforce or heading off to college. Many of these young people will move from innocence toward experience. Looking back on that moment that launches them into a new phase will forever hold significance. Obviously, with the pandemic, all graduation ceremonies have been canceled, which means there will be no speeches, no recognition, no throwing of the caps, no vivid memories of the day.

But Montgomery decided to change that. He bought candy, and not just any candy. He bought Snickers bars and drove with his wife to every graduating senior’s home. He wrote a note for everyone, took a selfie, and passed out the candy because, according to Montgomery, when they look back on this year, they will Snicker. The entire process took 79 hours and about 800 miles of driving to complete. 

Montgomery demonstrated perfect leadership. He didn’t make an excuse or complain about the situation. He became proactive. He never worried about the expense or time. He understood the importance of the event, the magnitude of the torch passing. He was divergent with his planning to find an alternative solution. As a result, Montgomery made each member of the school feel essential. His notes and his personalized touches made sure everyone will remember this special day.

From that day forward, when each student sees or eats a Snickers bar, their mind will trigger back to their high school graduation. It might not be exactly what they anticipated for their graduation day. But they’ll respect, appreciate, and most of all care about their principal’s effort to turn a bad situation into a memorable one. 

Well done, Principal Montgomery. 

P.S. If you are in search of a book recommendation, our team at The Daily Coach highly recommends Do the KIND Thing: Think Boundlessly, Work Purposefully, Live Passionately by Daniel Lubetzky. For the socially conscious, the intellectually curious, or the creative soul comes an inspiring, New York Times bestselling handbook for success in business, life, and the all-important task of building a more compassionate world—by the visionary founder and CEO of KIND Healthy Snacks.

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