A note of gratitude to Orcas | Letter

The class of 2021 graduated on June 12. As the parents of a senior, we had the great fortune to attend the special events of the week that celebrate the many successes of these students.

We read every note from the seniors in the newspaper and were touched, but not surprised at the gratitude they reported for their teachers and staff in their school. We would also like to express our gratitude, as parents.

Teachers, administrators, community members who have loved these children as they grew up on Orcas. Thank you.

It is hard to find the right words to recognize the efforts of those focusing on the long view. Sometimes, it is easier to honor those whose heroism occurs in an instant or in a crisis. Our experience of education is … the impact of those daily efforts are there for the long haul. We may not recognize it at the moment. For example: the kindergarten teacher who made sure the homesick kindergartener got an extra visit from her sister at recess. The fifth-grade teacher who fundraised so everyone could go on a trip wearing the same t-shirt. The reminder that “whatever” is not the best response when being asked to step up. The parents who chaperoned the dances. The teacher who noticed the 8th grader who is missing too much school. The thoughtful reach-out after an emotional piece of writing was turned in. The countless hours during and after school teachers and staff spend with their students in sports, in art, in conversation.

And then there is considering the last two years, in an unprecedented world crisis, we saw you remaking your curriculums, learning to teach in a new way, adding temperature-taking, COVID-screening and Google classroom, food delivery to your skillsets in short order. The results will show up in the long haul — fewer children with long COVID, a group of students showing resilience and compassion for others. The results will show not only in the individual successes of our students but even more so in a healthier, better community that cares about one another and makes sacrifices for one another’s well-being.

I am confident that these graduates will go out into the world and make an impact on their communities.

Thank you OISD teachers and staff and all the teachers in our community, from the bottom of our hearts.

With much appreciation,

Camille and John Fleming

(Mother and father of Sofia)

Orcas Island