Clare County Review & Marion Press Columns

Proud to be a Pioneer: Handling Hard

It’s an incredible time to be a Pioneer. The fall and return to school bring the promise of great effort and achievement by our students, staff, families, and school community. It’s easy to see in the extra-curricular world of sports and band and more. These are also visibly present throughout our classrooms and programs.
Students and staff are entrenched in project-based learning where they attempt to solve real world problems by using the basic skills they’ve acquired, collaborating, experimenting, and consulting with community leaders/experts. In addition to the core curriculum, they’re a part of a variety of exploratory classes including foreign languages, industrial arts, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), personal finance, basic home & auto repair, and civil discourse. Still more students are engaged in local CTE (Career and Technical Education) programming that can lead directly to careers.
Kids are bouncing back from the Covid era. This we all needed to see. They are engaging again in classes and with friends, and they are once again connecting their self-worth with accomplishment. From making your bed and completing household chores, to succeeding on that history project & math assessment, or contributing to the band/team…once again the connection between achievement and how we feel about ourselves is finding its way to the surface. Young people are putting down their phones and choosing to laugh, play, and work together. Even failure has lessons to teach us, but the point is that we muscle up to the task and press forward…and in that journey we find out about ourselves as we contribute to our families, our teams, our community.
And here we all are, on the cusp of a pivotal bond vote for our community. We’ve had guests from the state of Michigan’s Treasury Department and our insurance provider (SET SEG) here in recent weeks, and the comments they made as we walked the middle school building tell the story well…comments regarding the clarity of the need and our approach as parts or all of the old building become unusable. It has run its course.
The truth is, we all want and wait for things to get easier. But it will not get easier. Stop and think about this…what REALLY happens is we learn how to handle hard. This is a meaningful and necessary pursuit for our community and school district – and we have an opportunity to model how to handle hard things well. We shouldn’t be discouraged because things are hard…they’re supposed to be hard and we’re supposed to handle them! This is exactly what my grandparents and parents’ generation did, and it’s exactly what exemplary districts do. Things are hard in many other communities that pass bonds. Prioritizing our kids and their learning is one of the very best investments we can make together.
Thanks for everything you do to make Clare a great place to live and learn!

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