The Power of Ideas

A Message from the Principal
to Commemorate our First
LIFE CELEBRATION
on March 13, 2012


I want to talk to you today about ideas.

The most powerful thing in the world is an IDEA. Your thoughts can change the world if you change the way you think.

Our school has been in danger of closing many times in its twenty year history. Our first principal, Mr. Boyle faced many obstacles, and had to deal with many problems while he was principal. In 2007, Mr. Boyle found out that he had to move to Kobe, so he tried to find someone who could replace him as principal. It was a very big request to ask someone to take over running a school like TIS! It would not have been surprising if no one agreed to do the job. However, one person with a big idea came along and saved the school. You know who that person is, don’t you? Of course, it’s Mr. Kano. Do you know how Mr. Kano saved the school? It was through his ideas. Mr. Kano had a big idea that Tsukuba needs an international school. He believed that our community would be better if we had an IB World School in Tsukuba that offered the Primary Years Programme, the Middle Years Programme, and the Diploma Programme. However, his idea did not stop there. He also believed that Tsukuba was the most natural place for Japan’s United World College (a special kind of diploma programme that emphasizes international understanding along with offering a rigourous academic and extra-curricular programme). Mr. Kano was working very comfortably at Meikei High School at the time, and it would have been very easy for him to continue to work at Meikei until he retired. However, the idea of having an IB World School in Tsukuba was something that Mr. Kano believed in. Because of this idea, and Mr. Kano’s determination to bring this idea into reality, TIS not only survived the crisis of losing its founding principal, but also gained a new school building, 10 times more students, and a better support network of people in the city, in the government, and in the various academic and research organizations in the city.

Last year, our school faced two more serious problems. The earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear emergency that happened on March 11 was one of the most serious disasters that Japan has ever faced. Many people decided to leave Tsukuba or leave Japan to because of this crisis. This meant that our school lost many of its students, and it seemed like we would not be able to keep the school going much longer. Then, on March 18, when we lost Mr. Kano to a sudden illness, it seemed like all was lost. Again, it would have been easy for all of us to accept what happened, close the doors of the school, and give up on everything that we had built.

However, something happened last March to keep our school alive. It wasn’t a magic spell that made all of our problems go away. It was an idea. It was the idea in all of our minds that our school, Tsukuba International School, and our school community were important enough to fight for. It was the idea that no matter what had happened to us, we needed to keep believing in ourselves and our goal of having a world class school here in our little city. Because of this idea, the students overcame their fears and they came back to the school. The teachers wiped away their tears and they came back to the school. The parents looked to each other for strength and they came back to the school. Mrs. Kano and the school board were able to work past their grief and they came back to the school. We all came back not because we were forced to, but because we wanted to. Our thinking brought us back together. Our thoughts are the most powerful thing in the world.

Our thinking is the reason why things succeed and also the reason why things fail. They say that regardless of whether you think you can do something or you think you can’t do something, you are right. Bad things happen in this world that are out of our control. We can’t stop earthquakes from happening, we can’t stop the ocean floor from causing a tsunami. We can’t change the fact that sometimes people die even though we are not ready to say goodbye. However, we can control our reaction to all of these things. When bad things happen, we can use our most powerful weapon, our minds, to make something positive happen as a result instead of something negative.

Today, we have gathered to celebrate our lives. We have made a positive decision to come together to celebrate everything that is good about our lives: our family and friends, our hobbies and talents, our hopes for the future. I believe that Mr. Kano and all the people who perished in the disaster last year would want us to take some time to reflect on what happened in March last year, and to use the power of our ideas to react in a positive way. I hope that you will keep that in mind as you all participate in our first ever Life Celebration and as you continue on in your life. Use your ideas to make the world a better place.

Shaney Crawford
Principal
Tsukuba International School