Quintin Shepherd

Quintin Shepherd

There is a brilliant song by a group of Bluegrass artists from North Carolina who call themselves “Deeper Shade Of Blue.” They sing under Mountain Fever Records and released an album in 2018 with a hit song by the same title, called “Steam.”

As I think about what to write about from week to week, this song came to mind. It came to mind because of just one lyric, “had enough steam to blow the whistle, but not enough to pull the train.”

This feeling is much in line with the JRR Tolkien quote, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”

We all know the feeling when we are just bone tired. I am talking about the kind of tired where no amount of rest or sleep is going to let you feel caught up.

Although the Tolkien quote is good, I just love this bluegrass lyric because it is so real and raw. It is the feeling of wanting to do something but being too weak to do it.

I am sure this is something most, if not all, of us can identify with. We can all easily think of that person who screams at the top of their lungs that something needs to be done, but they are nowhere to be found when it is time to get to work. Sometimes, we may have even been this person... I know I have.

When I quickly flash through this past year and think about some of the high points, I think of many of our Victoria ISD employees and our students. It seems some often don’t use their steam to blow the whistle because they are so busy using all their steam to pull the train.

Over this past year, I have seen countless occasions where our staff has worked relentlessly to make things better for our students or for our community.

I can think of many phone and text conversations before 5 a.m. as we try to get buses out and buildings open and the countless people doing that work.

I think of phone calls and texts that come in after midnight when students may be in jeopardy or concerns of safety.

I think of principals who come in on weekends to mop up water coming through our roofs.

I think of weekends when staff showed up to help feed our community during the ice storm.

I think of those teachers, whose workload nearly doubled during the pandemic as they tried to balance face-to-face and remote instruction at the same time.

I think of students who worked around every obstacle they met to try to find ways to make what has been an impossibly difficult year as normal as possible.

We truly are a 24/7 operation in many respects. These students and staff are the ones who don’t complain when things are not going well but roll up their sleeves and help get the train moving.

To those students and staff, I thank you. While it is easy to sit back and blow the whistle, you did the demanding work and were the ones who had the steam to pull the train. You know it was challenging, and you know we needed a hero to step up and help.

For some, you have been so busy pulling the train that you didn’t get the recognition you so justly deserved. To you, I want to say thank you.

Congratulations to our seniors and their families.

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Quintin Shepherd is the superintendent of the Victoria Independent School District.

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