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Change moves us forward

It’s that time of year when all of us start anticipating a change from the cold of winter to the warmer days that come with spring. Things that seemed dead and forgotten begin springing back to life. The trees change from barren limbs to limbs budding with leaves. Flowers begin to bloom. A horizon that seemed cold and colorless begins to change into one that is filled with color.

Spring is full of changes that can be seen all throughout nature, and for the most part, those changes are welcome and exciting as they signal the natural progression of life all around us.

Change isn’t always easy, but it is sometimes inevitable, which is true for us here at Russellville City Schools. We have a good bit of change on our horizon, from the demolition of the old College Avenue Elementary School to the continued work on the new main building at Russellville High School.

We know these changes come with lots of emotions, especially for a community full of alumni and people who are deeply connected to our schools. But we also know that what’s best for our students, teachers and the community at large is what is ultimately best for RCS – even when it comes to these big changes.

When I first took the job as superintendent at RCS, I knew I was walking into something special. The strong sense of tradition and the close-knit community that supports our schools isn’t something you find in every school system. I made a commitment to learn about the rich traditions at RCS and to respect and honor those traditions as much as I could. Over the years, I’ve learned so much about the system’s history, and it’s given me a greater insight into the dedication most RCS alumni have for our schools.

Part of that history is the old College Avenue Elementary School, which I know holds many memories for our community. It’s been great to see and hear the stories of days spent in those halls. It’s an important piece of our system’s legacy, which is something I and our board members have all taken very seriously. The decision to finally move forward with the demolition of this school wasn’t made lightly. It was made considering all factors and scenarios, including ones that sought to preserve the building. Once all factors were considered, it was clear it was much too expensive to renovate the deteriorating building, and those resources could better serve our students elsewhere.

It’s part of the necessary change that has to be made for progress to take place.

The biggest evidence of progress at RCS is the new addition to our high school, which is coming along nicely. This beautiful new building will allow for more adequate space for our students, new labs and new technology and a better educational experience for our students, which we believe encompasses the “excellence” we are known for. It’s a big step toward the future of our system and a new and exciting piece to add to our system’s history.

When I think about the passing of the old – symbolized through College Avenue School – and the birth of the new – symbolized through the new high school addition – I realize the changes we’re experiencing are just the natural changes that must take place in order to move forward, similar to winter fading away into spring.

Change is never easy, but it can be exciting as it leads to new possibilities, new traditions and a brighter future for everyone.

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