Barriers exist in all walks of life. Some are physical, others are mental, and the rest are metaphorical. The Great Wall of China represents a physical barrier. Fear of the dark represents a mental barrier. Money represents a metaphorical barrier. The actual physical makeup of money cannot withstand outside force at all. Money can be ripped, folded, or crumpled with minimal effort. Yet money is among the greatest barriers between people and success. In the California high school basketball playoffs last March, McClymonds High School defeated Monte Vista High School to advance to the state championship. No other team had been able to keep McClymonds from a shot at winning a third straight championship. The team won titles in 2007 and 2008 and seemed well on its way in 2009. Unfortunately, that’s when the money barrier suddenly appeared. McClymonds High School is located in a working class section of West Oakland. The school district informed McClymonds officials that funds were unavailable to send the team to the state championship in Sacramento. Players would be responsible for their own transportation and accommodations. When the news reached Bill Powers, the coach at Monte Vista, he took action. Powers e-mailed the parents of students in the school’s athletic programs who had participated in state playoff games and asked for donations. The parents and student-athletes at Monte Vista raised $1,100 to help McClymonds make the trip. Monte Vista and McClymonds had been rivals on the court. Nonetheless, the Monte Vista parents realized something far more important. Success can only be achieved when preparation meets opportunity. They helped tear down the barrier keeping the McClymonds team from achieving its goal. The parents and students of Monte Vista recognized that we all win when young people succeed.
Monte Vista High School is being recognized by the National Federation of State High School Associations.