Tuesday, November 13, 2018

We are ALL Ambassadors

A Great Long Weekend: I hope that all of you had a good and reflective Veterans weekend. I spent the weekend in Iceland. Yes, you read that correctly. We had heard from friends that Iceland was definitely a place to travel to, and it did not disappoint. Once you realize that Iceland is a four and a half hour flight from Boston and that the only thing that is pricey there is the food (so pack snacks in a checked bag, but the food is excellent there if you don’t; we did a combo) you realize that Europe is closer and cheaper than you think.

Now I can start stories with things like, "While I was (insert cool topics here such as  in a geothermal hot pool, underground in a lava tunnel, in an ice cave, on a boat in the North Atlantic watching the Northern Lights, and speaking to people all over the world.)” So, yes, place Iceland on your trip list and shoot me an email if you want suggestions of things to do while you are there.

Something really powerful happened while I was there as well. It was Veterans weekend in the United States, but it was also the remembrance of 100 years since Armistice Day, the conclusion of World War I. So some of the talk in the eateries and venues was politics, not “who am I going to un-friend next on Facebook” political talk; but real, global political conversations.

It was the second evening we were there when we really realized how closely people were listening to us talk as Americans, and about  American politics in general. It made me realize that we do not need pundits, elected officials, or the media, to be true ambassadors of our country. I take great pride in where I live and feel very fortunate, so it was easy for me to gush about our country, the great things in it, and how we as a people use conversation, debate, and legislation to rule. Not every person we spoke to had those abilities, so my take away was that we all really need to realize that while we may be at odds from time to time about our politics here at home, there are probably millions of people out there who would like to be in our shoes. We are the ambassadors who deliver the message of how good we have it.

Back home, we wrapped up winter sports tryouts, and tried to get our custodians, who work harder than anyone realizes, a couple of days off.

Events Update: On November 5 we celebrated the Camillus Optimists Teachers and Students of the Year honorees at the Tuscarora Golf Club. The student honored were: Lindsay Chamberlain and James Clark from WGHS; Emma Evanchak and Tyler Anastasio from CMS; and Emilie Shoults and Eli Owens from WGMS were honored by the Camillus Optimists with the David Kenna Outstanding Student Award. The teachers honored were: Erin Hogan (WGHS social studies teacher), Nancy Muldoon (CMS health teacher), and Rebecca Gesser (Stonehedge fourth-grade teacher). Click here to read the full article about the event.

Another annual event showcasing the academic talents of our students, the District Spelling Bee, took place on November 8 at CMS. Congratulations to WGMS students Cooper Corcoran and James (Jamie) O'Donnell for coming in first and second, respectively. To read the full article that lists the top twelve students moving on to the next level of competition, click here.

Critical Time of the Year: The time from now until late February is really critical. For full-year courses at the high school, or classes at the middle and elementary schools, the students and teachers are in rhythm. Students and teachers know where they stand with each other, have a pretty good idea of how the course or class will complete based on how much effort is exerted, and what we need to do to help children close learning gaps. It is just an absolutely critical time of the school year academically.

Our seniors are getting into the thick of deciding about life after high school, and half-year courses are getting just beyond the middle point. As the parent of two graduates, it can be a stressful time. Don’t forget to smell the roses or to take a break and stay glued together as a family.

This time of the year is also the time of giving. I wrote in an earlier blog that we are trying to put something bigger together as a District with other community partners. That continues to be a work-in-progress because we want to get it right; and be able to repeat it.

All of our buildings and many of our organizations led by students will be ramping up their giving efforts, so please stay tuned to individual building blogs and our social media presence for ways to help or to receive help if needed.

I am looking forward to the coming weeks. Thanks for reading and have a great week!