It's January of 2015, and while the calendar has reset itself entirely and we've just now begun getting use to writing '15 instead of '14, the Mayor's Star Council is beginning the second half of our year. We definitely have that second semester feel where you take everything you've learned in the fall and hope to compress it into the spring. Looking back, we've certainly learned a lot. And, while there might be a light at the end-of-tunnel somewhere, it's masked by the sense of urgency we all feel to get greater things done, and build upon the relationships and knowledge we've gained. For both MSC and myself, it's been a great first half.

While we still carry that start-up mentality and approach, it's clear we must ensure that who we are and what we do is sustainable. I came in wanting to put my own little spin on the year, and while it's been productive we also need to make strides to build a structure that can be passed from one class to another. Our programming continues to be the most substantial piece of our mission and we've learned that everyone comes to the table with a different perspective and set of skills. Our meetings have been both informative and inspirational, and as one MSC member said, "It's like drinking from a firehose."

At the same time, there's this amazing group of high school kids, whose lives we are a part of and there's no looking back. The relationships that are being developed with the Mayor's Rising Star Council are amazing. And, we know that there is still so much that we can do together. We've learned some incredible things from them, their passion in doing the little things well and their ambitions within their own schools and communities. These kids continue to put things in perspective for us, taking something as complex and large as the GrowSouth initiative and repackaging it in a way that, sometimes, is as simple as a conversation or help with an essay question, or a ride home after school.

In addition to those great things about MSC and our MRSC kids, there's plenty more out there that we now know. We've learned that some of our members play some great defense in kickball (10-6 win vs. D Academy, Booyah!), and that race relations weigh extremely heavy on many of our hearts. We've learned that civic progress can come in the form of a TIF grant in Southern Dallas, a coat drive in Vickery Meadow, or a small business hanging on in Oak Cliff. We've been inspired by teachers, council members and community residents, but not in what they do, but why they do it. We've learned that depth of a conversation is just as important as who the conversation is with, usually more. Heck, a couple of us have even learned what Kik is and that students don't use Facebook, like ever.

It has been a pleasure to work alongside the class of 2014-2015, twenty six emerging leaders who I intend to stay in touch with well after the second half ends. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to meet some of the brightest, and more importantly, the most passionate social and civic players in Dallas. For several years we've often joked that it's the same people in every civic/social/education/make-Dallas-better meeting or conference. And, while there are always familiar faces doing great things, there are people in this city you don't see or hear from. That's because they're too busy grinding away for their community, school, families, neighbors and city. And many of those people are right here as representatives of this year's MSC class.

David Higbee | President & Kickball Head Coach for MSC 2014-2015

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