Letter to the Editor: We are grateful for those who support local schools


While most people think of Thanksgiving as having begun in Massachusetts in 1621, the tradition did not become an official holiday until 1863, when President Lincoln issued a proclamation “to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise…”  While popular culture tends to associate Thanksgiving more with gluttony than with gratitude, we would all do well to remember Lincoln’s appeal.

The hundreds of parents and others in Parents’ Alliance for Strong Schools have many things for which to be thankful, but there is one particular blessing we would like to recognize: people who do not have children in the schools who nonetheless support education in our county.

Parents of school children have an obvious stake in the schools; teachers’ chosen profession makes clear their commitment to education, and grandparents, aunts and uncles, and others have connection as well.  What has been remarkable and inspiring to me over the last year is the number of people with almost no direct connection to the schools — retirees, empty nesters, home-schoolers, private school families and others — who nonetheless understand the importance of education to our county and our community.  They include business leaders who understand the importance of education to our economy, and clergy who know that minds and souls develop best when they develop together.

The official motto of Shenandoah County Schools is that “Great Communities come from Great Schools.”  While this is true, it is also true that great schools depend on great communities, financially, and in other ways.  Our schools are having a wildly successful year, culminating in the recent national recognition of Central High School.  This success is the return on the investment of our community and previous generations in our schools, and it is something of which all of us should be proud.

We are grateful to the entire community for supporting education; however, with particular respect to education supporters who are neither teachers nor parents of children in the schools, we are especially grateful to you, and we are grateful for you.

Dan Walsh,
President, Parents’ Alliance for Strong Schools