Climate Changers 9

It's that time again, time to honor our newest batch of
National Schools of Character 
and I'm over-the-moon ecstatic to announce that another school just down the road from us has earned this distinction. Please help me in congratulating Southside Elementary in Angleton, Texas! 

What makes this honor extraordinary for me is that a group of character educators from Southside came to our NSOC Open House in February of 2010 to celebrate and grow with us. And now, they're harvesting the fruits of those labors. In a thank-you correspondence received late last night, Sharon, a third-grade teacher there, told me that we planted not only seeds that day, but "a tree" whose strong roots went deep and whose yield is very high. My heart is dancing with my friends at Southside and I cannot wait to celebrate with them in person in DC and then back here. They are truly changing the climate, deep in the hearts of little Texans.

Now to today's Climate Changer, who also hails from our area. This past January, I was blessed to spend a day facilitating a character-development workshop at Ward Elementary, where I posed the question, "What do you want your alumni to look like?" Their response? Alex Judd. And while that might not mean that much to other guests in their building, I knew exactly what they meant because I'd had the pleasure of meeting this fine young Ward alum and I agreed wholeheartedly. 
They are so very proud of him, and rightfully so.

We first met Alex in the summer of 2011, on a tearful day in August as we pulled up to the curb in front of the dorms at the University of Texas to drop our firstborn off at college. Checking in a week early for marching band tryouts, Kaitlyn was more excited than I'd ever seen her. Her father and I, on the other hand, were a bag of mixed emotions snarled with a bundle of nerves. What came next changed all of that. Out of the blue and quite by surprise, we were met by a group of young men, members of the band service fraternity, KKY, offering to helping move Kaitlyn in. Their arms were full of her stuff before we even had a chance to introduce ourselves. And the leader of the gang was this gregarious tuba player from Clear Brook High named Alex. Alex Judd. We were instantly drawn to this young man with a servant heart, who connected with us and made us feel like we were home (John played tuba  in the Longhorn Band, too, and Clear Brook is just a stone's throw from my elementary school in Friendswood). His huge smile and friendly personality didn't hurt. 

The van was emptied in no time at all, and Kaitlyn had been adopted and felt like a part of the Longhorn Band before she even stepped foot on the field to audition.

You may already know that Kaitlyn did make the band and will start her fourth year with them in August, this time as a clarinet section leader. Alex went on to become their drum major his junior and senior year, and now he's graduating. 

Alex is a born leader who enthusiastically and authentically 
leads with his heart. 
He's passionate and purposeful. 
And he leaves his best on the field and still has it to give. 
He's the kind of young man that you want your children making friends with and bringing home, and he's the alumni that your school family would undoubtedly be proud to call their own, not only because of what he does, but because of who he is.

 If you ever need an inspirational speaker to influence greatness in your future leaders, please keep Alex in mind. 
He's got a gift which he willingly and freely gives away, 
and that makes him a Climate Changer in my book. 
Congratulations on your graduation, Alex, and thank you
for your part in changing our world, one move-in at a time.

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