There's a popular catchphrase, "You only live once," or YOLO. My Grandma
Grace used to always say, "You only live once in awhile." I didn't always
understand the meaning of her words, but as the years go by, I realize the key
to what my grandmother said was that the moments we truly live are those in
which we choose to take time, take a deep breath, and truly savor them. Some of
those moments are planned, others are unplanned, but when we recognize the
breadth of beauty around us, that is when we are truly living.
This time of year, there can be so many distractions for families, and turning
on the television news does little to warm the heart. Yet, there are
heartwarming moments everywhere around us, if we simply look. In this season of
giving thanks, we can follow the lead of our students, teaching us that giving
is from the heart.
At a recent board meeting, Hillview Elementary third graders asked every
district administrator and board of education member, to "pay it forward." Each
adult was given a strip of paper to record how he or she had helped someone or
done something kind. Those strips will be joined with the children's to create
a paper chain around the school, highlighting good deeds that have been done
At Como Park and John A. Sciole elementaries, donations are being made
to honor our armed forces. Como Park students sent troops their Halloween candy
while Sciole students made cards to remind them that we think of them and their
service, especially at the holidays. Court Street students are making crafts
that will accompany food delivered through Meals on Wheels. Recipients will
have a hot meal and something to decorate their home from the hands of our youngsters.
William Street students are making wreaths for an upcoming tree lighting ceremony.
The wreaths will ultimately be donated to nursing homes to brighten the halls
for the holidays.
As our students start to enter young adulthood, they take on more of the
responsibility of planning service projects. Students at Lancaster Middle School
have been instrumental in operationalizing the collection that helps stock the food
pantry, learning valuable life and job skills while helping others. Our high
school students really give of themselves, throughout the year, but particularly
before the holidays when extracurricular groups go above and beyond to make the
youth bureau’s annual holiday distribution a huge success.
We are proud of the initiatives our students take to make the world a better
place. As they graduate and move on, we're quite sure they will continue to be people
who make the most of every moment and make a difference in the lives of others.
Michael J. Vallely, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools