What’s on your refrigerator? This may be a silly question, but it’s one that recently got me thinking. Whether it’s a baby picture, an award, a sticker from a favorite store, or a calendar for basketball practice, our refrigerators can say a lot about us—odd, maybe, but true. The front of our refrigerator is filled with mementos and artifacts which represent important memories and remind us of special times we’ve shared. When I recently took a second look at the Vinson refrigerator, I noticed that most of our items came from school. Not surprising, right?
My own kids have now entered high school, and our time with them is getting shorter. It seems that every moment “weighs” a little more in our minds. We know that, before long, our babies will be leaving the nest. We want to soak up as much time with them as we can. Our refrigerator, which once showcased finger-painted masterpieces, has graduated to tennis schedules and football magnets. Colleges have started sending information to our son; and, before we know it, an acceptance letter will be part of our shrine. It will serve as another reminder of the many celebrations that bring us so much joy.
I often share with parents that, though the days may be long, the years are short. In the blink of an eye, we can look up and wonder where the time has gone. And we can look at our children and wonder how they grew so fast. We cherish every moment, and I hope you do, too. Passing the STAAR test, participating in advanced placement classes, and graduating from high school are all important. They are big accomplishments which require grit and determination.
Nobody achieves more than our Wylie ISD students and the teachers who guide them. I would love to showcase each and every moment. But, that would require me to get a much bigger refrigerator.
During dinner tonight, our entire conversation revolved around school. Relationships, tests, sports, and projects that both challenge and excite our kids and give them hope and happiness. Don’t get me wrong, we have had our fair share of clouds and rain; but, the teachers, principals, and friends at school have been with my kids every step of the way and have helped them through hard times. These relationships are important, and our schools are full of folks who care about my kids and yours. We are truly blessed.
A thousand new kids became students in our district this year. When their refrigerators start collecting memories, I hope they come from an amazing experience at school. As part of their Wylie Way training, some kids took a survey and learned about their strengths. I hope that list is on a refrigerator somewhere. I also hope that a fridge has a Wylie Way certificate because a student was caught being kind, responsible, or respectful.
I hope a young lady has a SmartGirls calendar on her fridge because she can do anything and her teacher helps her to believe in that dream, despite statistics that suggest engineering is only for boys. I hope that, somewhere, there is a note from a principal, a teacher, a coach, or a fine arts director, explaining how much the student means to his/her school. And, I hope a child has an invitation to an awards ceremony where he/she will be recognized for effort, courage, or grit. Until each student in Wylie ISD has one of these “moments” to capture, our work will not be done. We will not rest.
People are moving here for the new schools, the test scores, the awards, and the recognition of achievement. I want them to stay here for the relationships they build and because their kids feel safe and strong. Schools measure student performance by test scores. Wylie ISD recognizes these scores come from happy and hopeful kids with kind hearts, great values, and refrigerators full of reminders that school is a good place that feels like home. Welcome to the Wylie Way. Welcome home.