Sunday, December 16, 2012

Because I Don't Know What Else to Say

To the teachers and staff of Oakland Elementary,

In the wake of the tragedy in Connecticut, I have had a desire to express my appreciation for what each and every one of you do. It shouldn’t take a tragedy of this magnitude to cause me to say “Thank You,” but if one good thing has come out of this, it is that it has forced me to see all the blessings in my life.

Very few teachers and staff at an elementary school will be called to make the ultimate sacrifice for their students, but you all make great sacrifices every day that largely go unnoticed. You take the most important things in my life and try to mold them into something greater—what a responsibility! And with the pressure from a society that always expects more out of our school system as if you should shoulder the burden of raising children instead of parents. It’s all so overwhelming, and yet you all do it so well and seamlessly.

Whenever someone asks me where my kids go to school and I respond with Oakland Elementary, they almost always respond with a nod of their head and by saying, “Yes. That’s a good school.” Those people don’t say that because the building in is good condition. They don’t say it because of test scores. They don’t say it because Oakland Elementary students rack up more AR points than other students. They say it because of the faculty and staff. They say it because every person who receives a paycheck from Oakland Elementary truly cares about the children who attend there.

And I have learned so much from Oakland teachers as well. Things that they have taught my children that I use in my life, like: “You get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit.” “Just do your best.” “Ignore that person and they’ll go away.” These are such crucial life lessons that we all benefit from remembering.

I have been blessed with too much free time on my hands that has allowed me to volunteer at Oakland and I have seen first hand many of the drills that the children are put through. I kept remembering those drills this weekend and it brought me a modicum of comfort. There’s only so much we can prepare for and I feel like Oakland is as prepared as you can possibly be.

Thank you again for the effort and sacrifice of every person there. This world would be hollow without people like you.