This week the Superintendant of my home school district made an announcement that really got me thinking. He announced that the Principal of the High School and the assistant Principal will be retiring in June. This announcement made me downright sad. Why was I sad? I was sad for many reasons. I was sad for self-ish reasons. My daughter only has one more year at this high school. I would have loved it if she finished her high school career with both this Principal and the assistant Principal. My son had them throughout his entire High School career and I feel he was very lucky to have had them guiding him through such important years in his life. It made me sad when I started to read the negative comments being made by the members of the community who did not appreciate these individuals for the contributions that they had made to our community and to the children of our school. I was actually quite shocked how negative people were. The comments that were made were all about how happy people were that these old "dinosaurs" were leaving and perhaps now people who were more knowledgeable and younger would do a better job in our high school. I was honestly so surprised. Perhaps I had been living under a rock. Perhaps I had been missing something all this time, but truthfully, our high school is one of the best around, run like a well-oiled ship, where no nonsense is tolerated, where children were first! I had always felt like my children were receiving an education that was very personal, very tailored to what they specifically needed and it was not a one size fits all attitude. I have loved their teachers, loved the schools approach to many things. Did I love everything? No, but I could support things because I always felt that the children were at the core of what they were doing. Let me give some examples:
- My son was on the wrestling team, one of his team members lost his dad on the first day of practice their freshman year, he was now an orphan. It was horrible! This poor young boy was devastated, he had never wrestled before, but it was his dad's wish to see his son wrestle, so he had joined the team. He was going to be sent to live with his Grandparents who did not live in our district, which meant that this young boy would now have to leave our district. He did not have friends in the other district, nor did they have a wrestling team. So, some of us spoke to the coach to fill him in, the coach then in turn spoke to the HS principal, who spoke to the Superintendant. Everyone felt that this young boy had been through enough, that moving him would be even more traumatic for him. The district made the decision to allow him to continue to attend the district till graduation. The family members from the team helped get him to and from practice since he did not live in the district and transportation was not provided. The Principal that was considered a dinosaur, he was at all of the home matches. He checked on this young man all the time! He checked in with us, those of us who were driving him back and forth to see how we thought he was doing…yes, the man some are so quick to see go!
- My son was involved in EVERYTHING in school. Every club, theater events, he played in the marching band and he was a three sport athlete. There was NOT one thing that I did not see these Principals at. This included away events, events that took place hours away from our school. They were there supporting the students, all students at these events. They would walk around talking to the kids, checking on them and yes, making sure everyone was behaving, dinosaurs, perhaps, you were expected to behave and if you didn't, yes, consequences were given! I applauded them! (One time my son, thinking he was funny said something to a very pretty, young sub, the sub did not find it funny and you bet, I got a phone call and my son spent some time with that dinosaur and he was in trouble!) Good for the dinosaur! You were expected to tow the line, he was fair, you knew what he wanted and in this school everyone was treated fairly and with kindness and respect!
- The teachers that work under these "dinosaurs" are some of the hardest working individuals I know. They go above and beyond. They reach out to their student's on a regular basis. Like most educators, if you work in building where you feel valued, appreciated and supported, it is most certainly reflected in how teachers behave. This is not to say that most teachers do not do this, but I think that teachers that work under administrators that nurture their teachers, appreciate them and show support to them it certainly reflects in what you see in their staff!
- The last and the reason closest to my heart for why I will miss these two individuals. When my son was injured 5 weeks before graduation, these two "dinosaurs" did all that they could for our family. They came to the hospital, they supported my son's friends, his sister, the school community etc. while we held our breath when he was in a coma. The Principal called everyday! When my son woke up and then went to the rehab facility to learn to walk, talk all over again, the principal asked about graduation and would it be possible for us to get our son there! He knew how important it was for my son. He made it possible for my son to be there. They put a ramp in so that my son could get up on the stage. His staff was amazing as well, as a matter of fact, almost 2 years later, they still are. Even though my son is no longer a student at the High School, his teachers continue to reach out and help him. My son is still recovering from his injuries. His former teachers have helped tutor him in math so that he could pass his first college course. This same teacher is again helping my son because she heard he is studying to take a State Fire Department Exam. I attribute this to the support and nurturing these teachers receive from the "dinosaurs".
I do like to add that all these positive things that I have encountered while my children attended this school, none of it could be measured on a state exam! I do wish people realized that sometimes "dinosaurs" might not be bells and whistles, but they might be just what you need and be very, very careful what you wish for!
I wish these individuals only the best in their retirement, they certainly deserve it, but I will miss them! They we will always have a special place in my heart & I thank them for their guidance, kindness and love for all students!