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©2020 Mike Del Ninno

  • Mike Del Ninno

FCAT, FTHAT. I never felt left behind.


Throughout my recent exploratory travels, I’ve had the unique opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues with various constituents. In particular, I’ve had several stimulating conversations surrounding the subject of education.

Since my wife and I never had children, my personal reference to education is gleaned from my own educational experience(s). My parents threw me into first grade at the ripe old age of 5, which might have explained me repeating the 5th grade (my first inkling I wasn’t going to be a rocket scientist). Repeating a grade wasn’t so bad, it made me the smartest guy in the room (at least until 6th grade). And my favorite subject was PE (that’s physical education for those that don’t get a chance to exercise during the school day).

The next clue my brain worked a little differently came with geometry. You’d think figuring out a few simple angles would be easy, NOT. When you get a tutor and seriously apply yourself with subpar results, well, maybe construction wouldn’t be a good career choice. But, somehow I managed to grind through the required math courses to graduate high school.

Then the dreaded SATs with questions like, “if Johnny was shot out of a cannon at 45mph in a 10 mph headwind, how far would Johnny land?” I mean come on, Johnny’s gonna break a bone or two regardless, right? Needless to say, I didn’t score very well on those SATs. Then again, testing was never my strong suit. Or was it?

An odd thing happened on my way to my upper-level university marketing classes, I got interested.

From F’s to A’s. In fact, I think I even made the Dean’s List one quarter. I couldn’t tell how far Johnny was landing, but I could tell you how much gross margin that product was yielding.

And thanks to my college engineer (and backgammon buddy) I even scored an A in my quantitative methods course. How? He got me. He tutored me with an understanding of how I absorbed information, and how my brain worked.

I’m glad I grinded through my formative years of education. I fought hard to stay interested in core classes, enough to allow for community college, and finally a B.A. in Business Administration (with a focus on Marketing). And I’ve concluded it’s not all about testing, but connecting.

I went on to a very successful career with Valvoline and Roush-Fenway Racing. I formed a consulting business and founded a digital film production company. I ran for office and provided leadership in a myriad of roles.

Average to excellent, and never left behind.

#FCAT #testing