Success Can Be Found In Traditions


Credit: Bill on Capitol Hill on Flickr

In the 1966-67 school year, I was a student at Mesa High School in Mesa, Arizona. My father was getting his Masters Degree at Arizona State University so our family lived for that school year in Mesa. There were a lot of traditions at MHS, at the time the oldest school in the state. The major building, “Old Main” had been school to students since before Arizona became a sate in 1912.

marching bandEvery class had a motto. Ours was,”Carry on traditions great. We’re the class of ’68.” When I joined the Mesa Jackrabbit Marching Band, I was introduced to the school’s most sacred tradition. The Mesa High School Alma Mater is called ,”Carry On.” It is a song with quite a heritage.

In 1932 Zedo Ishikawa was a senior at Mesa High. He was the quarterback of the football team.The evening before the first game of the 1932 season, against Gilbert High School, Zedo was at home.

Zedo shot a gun into the air to disperse some dogs who were fighting in the Ishikawa yard. When this didn’t work, Zedo used the butt of the gun to try to get them to separate. As he did this, he fell backwards. The gun became stuck in the ground and went off, hitting Zedo in the chest.

football teamWhen Zedo’s father heard the gunshot, he rushed out and found Zedo lying on the ground. With his remaining strength, Zedo Ishikawa told those who were gathering around him to tell the coach, Steve Coutchie, to play the game the next night and to tell his teammates to “Carry On.”

Zedo Ishikawa’s final words, “Carry On.” have become the motto of Mesa High School. Every generation of students at Mesa High School learns the story of Zedo Ishiikawa and,”Carry On.”There is an annual award in his honor given to the outstanding male athlete at Mesa High School. People still get tears in their eyes when they sing this song. This rich tradition is at the heart of this school, a place rich with tradition.

writing in notebookWrite in your journal the place of tradition in your life. Is it your family heritage, a school or other organization you are a part of. How do these traditions inspire you to want to succeed? Spend some time considering this. Traditions can be truly motivating factors in our live as we strive for success.