Sometimes you need a reminder that the work you’re doing has long-term impact—impact that you may not realize until much later, when someone takes a moment to express their appreciation.

This recently happened for George Clement, principal of Minuteman High School in Lexington, Massachusetts. In November 2019, he spoke at an informational parents’ night event about the Career Tree and how it empowers young people to make smart decisions for their future.

Almost a year later, he received a special thank-you from a family that was in attendance that night. They had taken the message of the Career Tree to heart—and so had their son.

To express her family’s gratitude, this mother gifted Clement with a bonsai tree and note that we were given permission to share. In the words of a parent, this is the difference that Clement and his team are making with the Career Tree.

Dear George,

We wanted to take the time to thank you! The inspiration and your presentation and ideas on the parent’s night has stuck with us to this very day. The Career Tree is an enormous symbol of hope, thoughtful ideas and the love of children in your care. It is filled with respect of the individual and a clear path rooted in life!

Words cannot describe the environment and encouragement that Daniel has received over zoom and in his shop week. I have never seen him so excited, inspired, and hopeful about the future. He sees such a clear path and can’t wait to sink his teeth into his chosen field.

Appreciation to you,

Robie, Liz and Daniel

“This parent was so exuberant it blew me away,” says Clement. “She came in and told me how hearing me talk at that event about the Career Tree instantly resonated with her. 

“It sealed the deal on sending her kid to us.”

Like every other school across America, Minuteman High School faced major challenges in 2020. Moving to a hybrid model made sense, but it wasn’t an easy transition. Staff and students had to make massive adjustments—but through it all, learning, inspiration, and growth are still taking place.

“Even in this hybrid model we have, this parent has been thrilled with how we work with her son,” says Clement. “It was quite humbling and I had no idea what to say, other than thanks.

“Thanks to the Career Tree for this rewarding moment!”