By MSTA President Nic Vasquez

A recent musical sensation “The Greatest Showman” has become one of my favorite musicals. The film surrounds the story of American showman P.T. Barnum, founder of the circus that became the famous traveling Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The show doesn’t explore the darker aspects of P.T Barnum’s life, but it does feature numerous exhilarating musical performances that are able to entertain audiences with memorable songs and outstanding lyrics. Whether you’re a fan of musicals or not, there are some things each of us can take away from “The Greatest Showman.” As your president here are few of the lessons I have learned.

First, as members of the association we must have a vision of where we are headed. The song “A Million Dreams” represents Barnum’s humble beginnings and is used to communicate his vision of a lifelong dream he plans to craft together with his wife. The lyrics, “However big, however small, let me be part of it all” are a testament to his capacity to share a vision that inspires others to join. It is our obligation to articulate the association’s mission — to empower and advocate for public school teachers. It is our responsibility to create this picture at every level of the association and ask others to join us.

Secondly, our membership embodies a variety of people and that affords us the opportunity to see strengths in others we might not see in ourselves. The song “Come Alive” is Barnum’s call to those he seeks out to join the show. He has the ability to look beyond the peculiarities and grasp the beauty of the individual. We must recruit others to join our efforts in the work we have been called to do. We must seek those that do not possess our same strengths; seek out the talents and abilities they contribute to making our vision a reality. Each of us must “Dream with our eyes wide open.”

Next, as we continue the work that began so many years ago we must be willing to take risks and move forward with courage and optimism. The song, “The Other Side” is a duet that features Hugh Jackman giving his best to convince Zac Efron to turn away from the traditional as he sings, “So trade that typical, for something colorful. And if it’s crazy, live a little crazy.” In no way am I suggesting leaders act in a careless manner, but instead want to emphasize the importance of having the courage to take risks that move us forward in our vision.   

Lastly, often our drive for success and ambition can move us away from the ones we love most. As Barnum experiences financial success beyond his wildest dreams and receives accolades from high society, he seems to forget about his family and the people who supported his dream. The anthem “This Is Me” is a declaration from Barnum’s band of misfits that have experienced a life of ridicule and seclusion. As we move our vision forward we must not forget the work that has been done before us and the work that will be done after us. As members of the association we have access to a network of people that share our passion for education…for doing what’s best for kids. We must stand beside each other and unite as one voice leading the charge to achieve our dream of making a difference in the lives of the students, schools and communities we serve.

We are MSTA.
Peace, Love, Happiness
Nic Vasquez