As the Executive Director for our schools, I have plenty of opportunities to learn about how well our students are doing in the classroom. Occasionally, though, I get the chance to experience some of the great traditions outside of the classroom that make our division even more special.
Not a week goes by without an event or two that highlights the camaraderie among students, families, and division staff. I had the privilege of attending several recent events that did just that.
Last week, for example, my dad and I joined my daughter at Agnor Hurt Elementary School’s annual Thanksgiving family meal. And family on this day knew no biological boundaries. I remember going to this event a few years ago and it was so popular, you had to wait in line for 45 minutes to get your food. Today, the school holds this event over two days to accommodate the families who participate.
Later in the evening, Western Albemarle High School held their annual fall athletic celebration. School officials, including the athletic coaches, spoke highly of their student-athletes and there was plenty of pride to go around. WAHS had a terrific fall season, winning several district and regional titles and a state championship in golf.
The next morning, I was at the countywide theater festival, held at Monticello High School and saw our students’ original production of Play with Your Food. It was funny, inventive, and highly crowd-pleasing. The confidence and self-assurance of our students are life-long skills that will make them successful in whichever careers they chose. Friday’s festival included adjudicated productions from all of the division’s middle and high schools.
During that afternoon, Jason Crutchfield, assistant principal at Henley Middle School, and I were invited by Mark Green to officiate the Murray Elementary Turkey Bowl. Every year, the 5th graders take on the staff on the gridiron behind the school in spirited flag football competition. This year, the 5th graders handed the teaching staff a decisive loss, and as the referee, I can tell you it was all on the level.
Finally, on Saturday morning, my son and I joined many runners for the 7th annual Kelly Watt Memorial Run at Panorama Farms. In spite of the very chilly weather, over 200 students, parents, AHS and other school staff, and community members turned out to remember Kelly and to support the scholarship program in his name.
Quite a week. And while the locations were different and the participants were not the same, there was a common theme at all of these events: the opportunity to celebrate so many outstanding young people and their families, teachers and staff, and the atmosphere of excellence they all create.
-Matt Haas, Executive Director