Education Celebrations: Cultivating optimism

The blessing of being around children is that there is always something to celebrate. Children have a sense of optimism about them that is contagious. And as adults, we are charged with the responsibility of nurturing and cultivating that optimism.

That's one of the reasons why we celebrate the power of caring across our school district.

Thursday evening, the school board will present the monthly Pillar of Excellence Award to a young man, Matthew Wood, who attends Victoria East High School. Matt takes college level courses along with his high school courses and holds part-time jobs operating a lawn service and picking up children after school.

In addition, he tutors other students at Victoria East to help them be successful in school. His level of caring is inspiring.

The Victoria East soccer teams recently sponsored a Color Me Courageous Fun Run. It was cold that morning, but it did not stop the students and their supporters from turning out in Riverside Park for an event to raise needed money to help the Challenged Athletes nonprofit make the Dream Plex a great success.

The Heat Beats, the Future Problem Solvers organization at Stroman Middle School, hosted a Zumbathon last Saturday to raise awareness of heart health and to raise money for the American Heart Association.

On Feb. 7, we celebrated the 100th class day across VISD. At Torres Elementary, the fourth-grade classes decided they wanted to turn the celebration into a service project. They set out with a goal of collecting 100 items to donate to the Dorothy O'Connor Pet Adoption Center. They exceeded that goal.

On Wednesday, center staff and volunteers brought some of the dogs from the shelter to the school to pick up the donations. While the students enjoyed the interaction with the dogs, they also got a lesson in the responsibility of pet ownership. Clearly, the dogs enjoyed the great gifts.

The elementary schools participating in the Rotary Club sponsored Early Act First Knight program have service organizations that take on projects. Some of the beneficiaries are local food banks, animal shelters, students in need and nursing homes. Other beneficiaries are people on the other side of the world whom the students will never meet. Still, they understand where there is a child in need, another child can make a positive difference.

When it comes to caring, our children are learning every day that the ability to care is not limited by age. Sometimes, caring means a helping hand or a pat on the back to another student who needs it. There are no size requirements to care. Even those children who have very few of their own possessions or resources open their hearts. When it comes to caring, our kids really are heart healthy.

Diane Boyett is the communications director for Victoria school district. Contact her at diane.boyett@visd.net.