Dear Lancaster Parents, Family, and Friends...
Recently, social media has been awash with ‘before and after’ photos. These aren’t the kind of photos you typically see in magazines where a paid model is enhanced using Photoshop to show the miracle after effects of some diet supplement. The photos I am referring to tell the real life story of before and after your children have reached some particular milestone in Lancaster schools, for example the first and last day of middle school.
These sentimental portraits not only show physical growth, but for the parents posting them, they also represent the tremendous social and academic growth, maturity, and the profound leap in development that a child makes as he or she makes his or her way through our schools.
As a parent of four children currently traveling this road, I can attest that sometimes they do grow up right before our very eyes, and the dramatic ‘before and after’ photos are poignant reminders of how day-by-day we tend to overlook the changes that are occurring in their lives. For Carol and I, some of our favorite photos are of the children getting on the school bus for their first day of kindergarten. Like you, looking back, it is hard to believe that our youngest will be starting his last year at William Street School, while our oldest will be half-way through high school. Where did the time go?
Another compelling example of the dramatic changes our youth go through was at a recent Academy of Finance partnership breakfast. The academy brought together its advisory board along with invited guests. Featured speakers Congressman Chris Collins and Russell J. Salvatore’s remarks were inspiring, but what was awe-inspiring was the panel of four recent Lancaster High School alumni who spoke about how their Lancaster educational journey prepared them for college, career, and beyond. Remarkably, a 2015 graduate is well on her way to her dreams, having just successfully completed a startup campaign for her first business, raising more than $75,000, as a college freshman.
This year, our graduating class will walk the stage at Kleinhans, accept their diplomas, and embark on post-high school journeys with more than $8.2 million in scholarships. Those scholarships weren’t earned in their senior year. They were earned over the course of 13 years through devotion and dedication to their dreams, and of course, a healthy supply of parental support along the way.
From pre-kindergarten through the last day of twelfth grade, we in the Lancaster schools are devoted to developing the whole child, academically, and socially. Our hope is that when you gaze upon those before and after photos, you are satisfied and proud of and overflowing with love for the end result!
Michael J. Vallely, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools