My name and e-mail address will probably not be familiar to you. I am
not a particularly active parent in district affairs. My husband and I
both work, we do not attend PTA meetings or help out with fundraisers,
we do not sit on any boards or committees. We are typical parents who
have simply aspired to raised our children in the very best school
district we could afford so as to give them the choicest opportunities
for their future. We have been a part of district #34 schools for the
last seven years, volunteering for a few field trips or performances,
attending (and not attending) conferences and events. It therefore
really resonated with me when I realized that today marks the first day
that we no longer have a child in District #34 schools.
Our youngest son is upstairs enjoying the tranquil, untroubled sleep of a kid completely done with eighth grade and a whole summer away from the anxiety and excitement of his entree into high school. As parents, we know that the summer is just a click of a mouse, a trip to the pool and a blip on the radar. Blink too long, summer will be over and our son will be walking the halls of Glenbrook South just as the other three kids in our family have done. Still, as we look ahead we too, are repose in considering his prospects for success as a Titan freshman. We are confident that he has all the tools he needs because together with us as parents, the district staff, teachers and administration have partnered to equip him well.
Our child is entering GBS with the ability to think for himself, understand his stake in his education and own the outcomes of his choices. He has tried a myriad of disciplines and interests and learned that the important element to take away from these experiences is the commitment to continue to grow and learn. He isn't self aware enough just yet to really understand, but his display of resiliency despite success or failure in whatever he endeavors is evidence enough for us to know that someday, when he has matured, this commitment will provide the underpinnings for him to be a genuinely happy, contributing person. Thank you, district #34 partners for your role in the development of our children. You provide so much more than an education.
Thank you to everyone at the district for your help in raising our children to the tenuous age of 14 with character, while preserving their curiosity and creativity. We recognize that the district as a whole is invested but would like to specifically thank you for retaining a few people that have really connected with our family along the way.
Thank you to Dana in the office at Glen Grove for welcoming our family when we first arrived at the district and helping an overwhelmed mom successfully acclimate multiple kids to a completely new environment. Thanks to the women in the district office for having patience and showing me the ropes when I was perplexed by the idea of proving residency for the first time. A great big thank you to Daryl Nitz who coaxed our young introvert into participating in the classroom and learning to make healthy connections with peers. Thank you to Barbara Buzard for inspiring our daughter and countless others to passionately, whole-heartedly love to write. Thanks to the folks in the nurses offices throughout the district who thanklessly listen to our kids whine when they are sometimes ill but often times just need to lie down a minute and figure out if they genuinely feel bad enough to need to go home.
We are so grateful to the women working in the office at Springman who always seem to know which of our children is on what team, accept (sometimes late) permission slips, fees and paperwork with esprit de corp (and without making us feel incompetent). Thanks also to Dr. Heather Hopkins for always buying whatever the kids were selling for whatever fundraiser, despite the fact that 100 other students had probably also conned her into purchasing as well. Oh, and thanks to Julie Boczek, and really, all of the Westbrook Panda team who confirmed to our son that kindness is the most important virtue. Thanks to Laila Bergman for her endless energy and commitment to creative expression, each of our children was touched by your love for theater and have made some element of the stage a part of their high school career. Thanks to Cindy Warren and Andrew Babcock who encouraged our children's love for music and made sure they learned to actually read music. This has translated into choir kids, bandies and kids with a real knack for recognizing patterns and sequences in disciplines outside of music.
Thanks to all of the custodians and lunchroom attendants who found and returned our lost items and cleaned up our messes.
Finally, thanks to the administration. Leadership can often be assessed best by observing the least of an organization and asking "is everyone on the team headed in the same direction, clear on the mission and objectives, right down to those with the most ancillary connection?". With that question in mind, in the case of District #34, I think my family qualifies in providing such measurability. Despite our hurried lives, limited time and scarce involvement, we have always been aware that the district is committed to an authentic partnership with us to raise young people equipped for the next challenge. Well Done!
Thanks to all of you from the bottom of a very grateful heart.