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Challenging school year teaches valuable lessons

FRANKLIN LIVING— It is hard to believe this school year is quickly coming to a close. When we first started school in August, we were unsure what to expect. We prepared the best we could for having in-person learning during a global pandemic. We took precautions, we wore masks, we changed our everyday routines, and we did all we could to keep things as normal as possible for our students.

Nevertheless, it just simply wasn’t normal.

Day by day, week by week, and month by month, we continued to move forward. Our students adapted, our teachers and staff adjusted, and here we are, less than a month from graduation, and we have been so fortunate to have maintained our in-person learning environment, our athletic seasons and our extracurricular and fine arts activities.

This was due in large part to the commitment of everyone at RCS doing their part to limit the spread of this virus. It truly takes a village sometimes, and I’m thankful for our village every day. Our students thrived this year amidst the adversities they faced, and that has been inspiring to see.

While this hasn’t been an ideal year by typical standards, I do believe we will come out of the 2020-2021 school year stronger and better because of the adversities we have faced.

I know for myself, this school year has taught me to not take anything for granted and to truly enjoy both the small and big moments. It’s given me greater insight into each job our teachers and staff perform and how necessary each person and position is to the functioning of our system. It’s shown me the true resilient spirit that exists in this system and and in this community. It’s taught me to be thankful for each day we have and to make the time we have count.

And it’s shown me how kindness, compassion, consideration and cooperation can make a huge impact, no matter the situation we face.

I know this year has been so difficult for so many, but I hope each person can find that silver lining in the storm and that we can all look with hope toward better days to come.

In the final weeks of such an unprecedented school year, I’m prouder than ever to conclude these thoughts by saying, “It’s GREAT to be a Golden Tiger!”

Heath Grimes is the Russellville City Schools superintendent.