It's the little inner city high school that could and did, using Delivering Happiness as a guide. Teacher Linda Michalski updates us on the amazing journey of the award-winning Benedictine Academy. (You can read our original interview with Linda here.)
In 2010, our school was struggling with the economy and the future looked bleak for us, as well as many businesses and so many of the small private catholic schools. As an Administration team, we read Tony's favorite book, From Good to Great, and planned to implement that full force for the school year.
Concurrently, I personally read Delivering Happiness at the start of the new school year and decided to test the water with our students. The results were awesome and our students won the Jefferson Awards Regional Gold Medal for Public Service, the New Jersey Governor's Award for Volunteerism, and the Jefferson Awards Best New School in the Nation. The Jefferson Awards was established by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as the Nobel Prize for Public Volunteer Service. Word hit the street and enrollment increased.
For the school year 2011-2012, our entire staff received a complimentary copy of the Delivering Happinessbook, we re-wrote our Belief Statements to incorporate the Zappos philosophy of delivering happiness through WOW experiences and it became the school mantra. We were inspired by you and we were inspiring others. We gave it our "ALL" like the Giants in the Superbowl.
Our goal was for everyone to live on a higher, more noble plane and say YES to help others in need. Everyone could do something, "small things with great love" (like Mother Teresa). Long story short, we won the Jefferson Awards Regional Gold Medal again and are on our way to Washington, D.C., to compete in the Nationals. For an inner city school, this is so very amazing.
On a senior reflection paper, one graduate (and she is not alone) wrote:
We have started something new this year delivering WOW service to everyone. The WOW experience is one of the greatest experiences anyone can give or receive at Benedictine Academy.
When you are delivering the WOW experience you are delivering happiness or a kindness to others... I have been able to experience the greatness of delivering the WOW experience to others. There is nothing better than the look on their face as we read to them a poem on how special they are or how we recognize the service they have done to help others. --Ana Cunha, Class of 2012