Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Educating beyond the Classroom

The week of December 1st is an extraordinary one for Dinwiddie County Public Schools.
Our High School Football team advances to the state AAA finals for the first time in the recent history of our school division. The game is scheduled for Saturday, December 6th, 12:07 pm at Virginia Tech., in Blacksburg, VA. Our secondary schools have strived to establish a well-rounded and balanced extra-curricular and sports program over the past six years. I have proudly overseen the growth and development of the youth sports programs at the middle and high school levels and our school board has given broad support to such efforts by providing good stipends for coaches, excellent athletic fields and facilities, and made an investment in the activities programs across schools in our division. The fact that our "home town" football team has worked its way to a virtually perfect season is no minor feat. Just five years ago the team was fortunate to win just one game. Now the tables of fortune have turned thanks to the leadership of Coach Billy Mills, the support of our athletic director Chad Knowles, and the principalship of Barbara Pittman. We lost just one game this season in our journey to the state championship in Blacksburg and our outstanding team lead by quarterback Adam Morgan has put Dinwiddie County rightfully on the map of the commonwealth of Virginia.

Our entire community has rallied in support of this wonderful season. The stands have been full of alumni, parents, and citizens thanks to the winning tradition established over a year ago by the Dinwiddie Generals...and not just in football but wrestling, track, tennis, basketball, softball, baseball to name just a few. Female sports have taken center stage as well throughout this unprecedented period of growth and development for our young students. Students, faculty, staff, parents, citizens all walk a little bit taller these days around the county...could it be we all have a bit of "Generals Fever"? This is a good thing. Why? Let me tell you what I think as superintendent of schools.

Academics maintains center stage in our school division as it should. But academics alone do not make for a well-rounded student. Much of the learning that must take place in the formative years of human development does not necessarily originate in the theoretical world of textbooks and/or the internet, rather, the basic lessons of courtesy, respect, dignity, humility, and collaboration often take place outside of the classroom. The mentoring experiences our teachers and staff offer young people very often occur after school hours in the clubs, activities, student government, community service, performing arts, and athletic teams that students participate in. Without these experiences students would be at a loss for the richness and fullness of the human experience. Public schools play an important role in the psychological, sociological, and physiological development of young people and the vehicle for these important formative experiences finds it's genesis in clubs, sports, and activities. Let's acknowledge that America has evolved as a great society because of the strength of our civic organizations and this tradition is passed to our young in our public schools by way of the variety of opportunities for social engagement beginning at school age.

We treasure our strong traditions in academics and social activities and welcome the rich experiences our children have at each of our schools. When one organization reaches the peak of success like our football team has done this season, it gives us all reason to celebrate and be proud. The human aspect of our work in education gives rise to stronger communities...the more our students succeed, the more validation and recognition they rightfully deserve. Every person's talents and abilities need to be celebrated...this is what public schools do so well. Dinwiddie is a very proud community with rich traditions and a sense of purpose for it's future...let's all embrace the changes that have emerged inside and outside of our classrooms...let's celebrate our successes and thank God for blessing our youth with great schools, teachers, mentors, parents, and coaches...and along the way let's not forget to say our prayers (and or thoughts), and let's all add one more thing to our daily reflections: "Go Generals"!

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