As we begin the season of graduations and celebrations it is also the time for school boards across the state to prepare for next year’s budget and schedules. Most of my desk is covered with information for 2012-2013.
While I am reviewing data, my phone beeps for one of my “Words with Friends” games. It used to be called “Scrabble” for some of us, but this generation of graduates has an app form on their phones or computers.
I am proud to report that I am holding my own against some formidable competition — with the exception of one student. She knows who she is and I could not be more proud of her accomplishments, having known her since third grade and watching her begin her new life here in the East County.
Her parents are local business owners. They work hard each and every day, and education is the highest priority. Her parents gave up professions in China to begin a life in America, and last year, I had the honor of speaking at the National Honor Society induction ceremony in which she took part.
Now, if I could get an extra 75 points, I might have a chance at winning, but each time she beats me, I can’t help but smile. For the high school and college students who are walking across the stage today, my wish is to have seven letters: P-R-O-M-I-S-E.
As each student graduates, there are parents who watch, knowing they have fulfilled their promise to their children. They have raised them, cared for them and made sure that they got to school and had what they needed to be successful students and adults. It takes a lot of commitment to raise a child, and they are proud of their children as they walk across the stage. They see the little ones they brought to kindergarten and now they are shaking the hands of their principals and school board members.
For our students who walk across this year, may your promise to your family and community be that you will do your best in college and careers to build your own families and community. May you promise to remember those who inspired you and may you get involved in your community, join organizations that help others, and, in that process, you will learn how much you have to be grateful for each day as you inspire others following you across a stage.
As your Manatee County School Board representative, my promise to our students and community is to be informed and prepared for meetings and to work toward changes that lead us upward in state rankings. Many things are changing, but what I do know is that our teachers did not stop teaching. We may have changed hours, schedules and curriculum, and our teachers kept on teaching.
This year my promise is to advocate for more time in class, to listen more to teachers when it comes to schedules and curriculum and be partners with teachers in planning for 2012-2013. My promise is to continue in Kiwanis and my service to children, as well as my school board duties to improve our state ranking. Thank you for your calls and emails and trusting me with your concerns. I appreciate the care and trust you have in education here in Manatee County.
Julie Aranibar, an East County resident, represents District 3 on the Manatee County School Board.