“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” Denis Waitley (author and speaker)
When I began my teaching career I taught World History. History teaches us about ancient civilizations and how advanced, brilliant, and influential these civilizations were to all people then and even now. Many civilizations built upon the advancements of previous civilizations in regards to technology, cleanliness, medicine, etc. In fact, many times civilizations are faced with the choice to stay the same, advance, or decline. The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “nothing is permanent except change.”
One thing I have learned being a teacher and administrator in a small town is that small town morals and values are strongly embedded in our schools, for better or worse. Our job as role-models and teachers is to make sure students have the opportunity to be successful within our school walls and out in our communities. Throughout my years in education, the old adage of, it takes a village to raise a child, has never been truer. Schools are staffed with people from all different backgrounds that interact with children and help them learn and grow on a daily basis.
I have a friend that I speak with from time to time and we discuss the role of schools, technology, parents, and other trivial issues in society. A common theme that resonates with our discussions is the fact that schools provide more and more to students on a yearly basis. At Blue Hill, we strive to provide for students, but at the same time realize that students’ wants and needs are changing (students used to be on Facebook, and now are on Instagram and Snapchat). When thinking about changing, I always think back to a quote by Denis Waitley. He says it best when he said, “there are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”
In our community of Blue Hill, we have a sense of pride and duty to ensure our students have access to the tools necessary for them to learn and be productive citizens. At Blue Hill, we strive to accomplish this goal, but at the same time realize that students’ wants and needs are changing. You may have heard that during this past holiday season our students, staff, and parents raised an unbelievable number of food items and money for the Webster County Food Bank. In reflecting on what went well, multiple teachers had the idea to begin our own Backpack Program through school to provide meals to students in need over the weekends. To the teachers, they had a choice…accept conditions as they existed, or accept the responsibility for changing them.
Over the course of the last month and a half, teachers formulated a plan for feeding students in need that attend Blue Hill. Teachers drafted letters, met with business owners and local churches, and came up with a plan to support our local grocery store, Thramer’s, in the process. As of this writing, our teachers have raised over $4,000 and began feeding over 25 students the last few weeks. This will help feed students for almost an entire school year. Simply amazing.
A question I ask at the end of the day is, “are we, as a small town, doing everything we can to help our students?” I like to think that we are on the right track. As we move forward, it is important to keep in mind that our goal as a school is to “Engage and Empower students every day!” Before students can learn, their physiological needs must be met. As our town exists today, it is easy to see why people are proud. Small town people build their business on relationships, honesty, and support. Remember, all it takes is “The Power of an Idea and Community Support.”
Note: The Backpack Program wouldn’t be possible without the support of the following (in no particular order):
Bobcat Backpack Committee: Christine Brown, Melissa Bonifas, Ben Jones, Joe Hubl, Krista Karr, Dani Schwinn, Cheri Garwood, Jim Brown, Emily Kohmetscher, Maddie Fritz, Summer Lukasiewicz, Lori Toepfer
Donors: Glenwood Communications, Blue Hill Furniture, South Central State Bank, Gottsch Enterprises, Norder Supply, B3 Dirt, Century Lumber, The Corner Nook, Gary Thomson Insurance, Main Street Styles, CB’s Electric, CEI Electronics, RP’s Body Shop, Barton’s Pipe and Rod, Mary Lanning Healthcare, Trinity Lutheran – Campbell, Trinity Lutheran – Blue Hill, United Methodist Church – Bladen, United Methodist Church – Blue Hill, United Methodist Church – Pauline, Lifehouse Church – Hastings