"Each winter, Union High School hosts a holiday assembly. The assembly allows us to authentically showcase the talents of our fine arts’ students to their peers. It never disappoints.
Since Union holds intentionally to its traditions, we have the Sr. Class principal read a short story appropriate for the season. Gart read The Polar Express today. You have each been in the PAC when it holds over fifteen hundred people. Usually, we are there with that many more adults. Today it was full of your students, those for whom you have nurtured, cajoled, chased, celebrated, and prayed. I want you to know that as Mr. Morris read the story, the students (half of the population of the high school) sat in stillness, in quiet regard and listened to the story. No adult redirected; no student had to be shhh’ed or removed.
I guess we could laud reading circles and our emphasis on literacy and celebrate, and I do. However, I think the gift we received today as we watched over fifteen hundred adolescent bodies listen to a children’s story is the reward of the relationships you have fostered, the family you have created, the culture we all treasure. In a world where unrest seems to be the daily norm, you have created a place where children come to be loved. I got to witness that gift today in a very real way.
The last lines of The Polar Express read,
“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”
Because you believe in our mission, the kids get a chance at believing, too. Thanks for making that possible. I hope you will share this with your teachers – in part or in whole. With your support, they make the bells ring.
Today, I watched a silly movie at the gym, "Here Comes the Boom". A biology teacher enters the world of Ultimate Fighting in order to save the music program. It's the kind of movie that I dislike because after one stimulating lecture and a silly dance on top of the desk, the teacher gets the unengaged, desk illustrator-student to answer his question. Oh, that it actually happened that easily!
Nevertheless, tears brimmed in my sentimental, idealistic eyes as the closing scenes of this silly movie played. The students, of course, followed their biology teacher to the final contest; they sang and played their instruments as the biology teacher entered the arena. Even his love interest was there. He was inspired; he had a new reason to win, to prevail - the dedication and loyalty of his kids. For two rounds, our main character literally gets his tail kicked and then in the final round - our hero prevails, the students cheer, the couple kisses and all is right with the world. Except, you and I know it isn't really right. We know we don't win that easily in education, in law enforcement, in politics, in winning hearts to Christ. Nevertheless, I loved the connection between the teacher and his kids. I loved the metaphor of getting your butt kicked round after round just so you can win with one student in the very end.
I thought about our high school. I thought about those kids Friday sitting quietly in the PAC listening their principal read to them - READ TO THEM. There were no fireworks, no loud music, no fantastic technology, Gart's voice steadily told of a child's belief, the spirit behind giving and our kids - even the desk illustrators- listened.
Fifteen hundred kids do not sit quietly for 8 minutes for anything - but they did Friday. I am so thankful for the souls that stay in the ring. I am so thankful those souls still listen and believe they will hear the bell. I am grateful their belief allows one kid at a time to hear the clear, metallic music as well.
#golighttheworld Union #family