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Inspiration Beyond Art: The Story of 'It Can Be Done' at GPA

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Inspiration Beyond Art: The Story of 'It Can Be Done' at GPA

One of the many privileges of walking the halls here at GPA is being able to admire the beautiful art and architecture all around us. There’s even more beauty and history to appreciate if you slow down and be observant to all of our little nooks and crannies. 

Has anyone here ever seen a small bronze plaque that reads, “It Can Be Done”? For many years it was located in the fieldhouse and was recently moved to a prominent location near the library.  The story behind the sign is truly inspiring. 

In 1989 a GPA coach asked a team of athletes to write down their goals. From this exercise emerged a simple yet profound mantra: "It Can Be Done." Each player contributed to its creation, imbuing it with personal significance.

After a few weeks, the coach noticed some of the players would touch the sign as they came to and from practice and games. Several weeks later it was routine for each member of the team to touch the sign as they entered and left the practice area. At the conclusion of the season they realized that even though the goals they had created were challenging, they had accomplished them both individually and as a team, and that the goals truly did add a great deal of meaning to their season.

Fast forward fifteen years, and the legacy of “It Can Be Done” endures. The team captain and the coach were reunited at a reunion. The coach was surprised and touched when he learned that the team captain, now a teacher, had kept the original “It Can Be Done” sign.  She had taken it to college and was now using it in her classroom. After telling her students the story behind the sign, each student set his or her own individual goals. A few weeks later she noticed HER students touching the sign as her team had done 15 years earlier.

At the reunion, the team captain was equally surprised and touched when she found out that those original goals were not just passed down to the next team, but that they had been passed down from one team to another, one player at a time for the past 15 years. And they were now entrusted to the present varsity team.  

While the goals created by the team in 1989 are not public, they are timeless and include the concepts of tradition, academic excellence, unconditional support of teammates, positive attitude, passing on skills to younger players, making NO excuses, determination to do your best, and consistent attendance.

It should be noted that winning was not mentioned in their goals. However, between 1990 and 2003 GPA’s varsity volleyball team completed 14 consecutive undefeated seasons. That’s a total of 315 wins in a row.  

My quest for you is this;  make personal goals that are achievable and challenging. These goals will add meaning to your day. And remember…It Can Be Done!

The Grosse Pointe Academy students begin each week at our Monday Morning Chapel. This blog post is part of our Chapel Talk Series which highlights our Academy Cornerstones as well as feature one of our esteemed faculty members.

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