Welcome to a new school year in the Bering Strait School District!
It is great to see all of the enthusiastic expressions of the new teachers as they get off the plane here in Unalakleet for the new teacher in-service. Welcome to the BSSD Team! It is equally great to see the smiles of our returning teachers and our classified staff. In a few short weeks, we will all witness the greatest sight of all, the smiles of our students as they enter the doors of our schools on the first day of school.
Let me begin this year with a story that is set during medieval times. The story is about a traveler who, while walking through the forest one day, comes upon a group of men who are obviously engaged in building something. Each is armed with a hammer and a chisel. The traveler goes up to one of the men and asks him what he is doing. “I’m carving stone,” the man replies. While the answer was truthful, it didn’t add much to the traveler’s understanding of what was happening there in the forest.
He approaches another man and asks the same question. The second man replies that he is carving stone to build a building. Now the traveler is getting closer to the answer but he is still confused, so he approaches yet another man and asks him what he is doing. That man answers, “I’m carving stone to build a building. In fact, the building will be a cathedral. It will rise hundreds of feet into the air and will stand for hundreds of years. Thousands will flock here to worship and to connect with their highest purpose in life.”
Each man was doing the same job. They were all carving stone. Yet the vision they held for their work was very different. As educators, we need to constantly ask ourselves what the vision is that we have for our work. Are we building cathedrals or just chopping away at rock?
Ladies and gentlemen, to be a successful educator in rural Alaska you must be strong mentally, physically and spiritually. You must keep your mind active and your body physically fit. However, above all you must maintain the faith that on any given day all kids want to learn and that you are making a difference in the lives of children. You are building cathedrals.
Thank you and have a great year!