As many of you know, the 41st president of the United States recently passed away. And no matter which side of the political spectrum you find yourself, his funeral was touching. His son the 43rd president provided his eulogy. When watching a portion of this eulogy with my son Luca the next day, I was taken back by both the intimacy and power of the words shared by George W (43rd) about his dad George H (41st). I also found connections to the work we are aiming to do here at St. Anthony New Brighton Schools.
“We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend, a loving parent, a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood and town better than he found it.”
These words taken from President George H. Bush’s inaugural address, these words are reflected in our buildings. Recently, staff created a random sample of (anonymous) parents and requested their time in taking a survey. I also asked key leaders in our school to take this survey, along with the entire staff at St. Anthony New Brighton Schools. This survey consisted of just a few questions and question three asked participants to describe what success would look like for a graduating senior from St. Anthony Village High School (SAVHS). This question generated the most similar responses. Many parents, staff, and leaders outlined a SAVHS graduate as not only knowledgeable, but also one who is kind and ready to become a citizen of the world. I just know, if any school, any community, any group of people can embody those ideas set forth for our country by our 41st president, it is St. Anthony New Brighton Schools.
I know this is possible, because the first question from this same survey asked participants to identify what about St. Anthony New Brighton schools makes them the most proud? One of the most stated responses was: the staff.
We have a staff who is not only willing to develop rigorous lessons with relevant content, but also go out of their way to build caring relationships with students. In addition, this staff is willing to put others’ needs ahead of their own. What I see in the hallways of Wilshire Park, St. Anthony Middle School, St. Anthony Village High School, and the Community Center are adults who are willing to, in the words President George Bush, “stop and ask if a sick child had gotten better, and stayed a moment there to trade a word of friendship”. There can be no better role modeling than adults in the lives of children showing kindness, friendship, and love to each other. I think this is why many are most proud of our staff.
In just a few days we will be on break. Many students, families, and staff will be celebrating holidays, and everyone will be bringing in a new year. Although we will miss each other, I doubt many staff will be sad about having a few days off to celebrate and rejuvenate. I also know many families will use this time to connect with friends and family. I know that is my plan! I appreciate all of you. Thank you to St. Anthony New Brighton staff for taking such good care of each other and the students. Thank you to our parents/guardians, for trusting us to educate and care for your child(ren). We are honored – it is a gift.