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Labor Day: Reflections from a First-Generation American

Bom dia and Happy Labor Day! This year we roll in the 125th anniversary of Labor Day becoming a holiday in the United States. It is a holiday honoring the social and economic achievements of workers and consequently their contributions to the world. As a nation, we celebrate the value and dignity of each of our work and what it contributes to the greater society.

Upon immigrating to the U.S. over 15 years ago, I began my initial years working odd jobs from raking leaves to singing as the mouse and then cleaning toilets at Chuck E. Cheese. While the work was not easy, the hours were long, and the language was foreign, I would not change this experience for anything. There is beauty in working with excellence in anything we are tasked with. After holding on to the vision of one day teaching Jiu Jitsu for a living and owning an academy, my dream eventually became a reality.

The testimony of an environment that allows people to progress when they work hard and pursue their dreams is not an advantage that many around the world have available to them. I am blessed to have had this opportunity here in the U.S. and am grateful for all those who have helped make this possible. It is because of having received this chance in life that I am keenly aware of my both privilege in receiving it and my responsibility to steward it.

None of us arrive on our own. We are standing on the shoulders of those who have come before us. And we have an obligation to lift others up to rise together. We are called to greatness, and we are capable of achieving it.

As I reflect on the Labor Day holiday, it is my hope that we each, collectively, develop our talents and ideas to contribute ingenuity and progress to the world. That we spend our time on higher pursuits. To invest our resources in the advancement of society. And wield our influence to foster unity. This is not just a hope, but it is what we work toward every day at Team Passos. It is humbling to see how far we as a team have come and what we have accomplished in such a relatively short amount of time. And to think, it all started with a dream coupled with the willingness and ability to work hard, planted in an environment that allowed it to flourish.

The world needs your dreams and your work. I encourage everyone to go after their dreams and work hard until it is realized. You will greatly impact those around you. Together we can accomplish more than we could ever imagine possible.

Have a wonderful Labor Day!

– Professor Tony Passos


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