As we approach the Thanksgiving holidays, our minds go to the many blessings we have here in Avery County. The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In all things give thanks”, and we in the Avery County Schools are thankful for our many blessings.
First, we are so thankful for our students. We are fortunate to have some of the best students in the world in Avery County – students who are well-behaved, conscientious, respectful, and who represent our community in a very positive way. From the classroom to the athletic field, from arts competitions to band performances, from club activities to community service, our students are exemplary. Our students desire to excel and are dedicated to becoming the best they can be. In so many instances over the last several years, I have gotten positive feedback on the behavior of our students and the services they provide in our community.
Our students have excelled in many areas. Our high school marching band has distinguished itself across the state. The high school FFA program has more American Scholars than almost any high school in North Carolina. The graduating class of 2016 set the mark for graduation rate, ACT scores, and college scholarships awarded. These are just a few examples of the achievements of our students.
Secondly, our students are not able to make this kind of progress without the help of dedicated and supportive parents. As a school system we are thankful to work with parents who truly care about and encourage their children, and who see themselves as part of the team working to provide the best education possible for them. I encourage all parents to be their child’s greatest advocate, to love them, and always be there for them.
I am also thankful for the faculty and staff who enable this student success. It is an honor and privilege to work with some of the finest teachers, teacher assistants, custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, clerical staff, and administrators anywhere. Our team of professionals in Avery County cares about their students, is dedicated to their jobs, and strives to make a difference in the lives of all students and in every area of education.
Avery County is also blessed and fortunate, to have a board of education that truly cares about students, that makes decisions based on what is best for the students they serve and that has no desire for personal honor or glory. Our board of education exemplifies the word “character”. They do not have personal agendas, they strive to meet the needs of the students, and are willing to listen to the concerns of others.
I am also thankful for our county commissioners, who are willing to provide the funds necessary to operate our schools and support our students, and who strive to make Avery County a great place to live. We have the resources to meet the needs of students because of the dedicated support of our boards of education and county commissioners.
As a school system, we are very thankful to live in a community that is supportive of our students and our mission to educate everyone. We have so many community groups, organizations and churches that provide unequaled support for us. The Back to School Bash, the food pantries, our backpack ministry, and the dental and health programs show how our community has stepped up to help our children. It is hard to put into words the appreciation I feel to so many who have made a positive difference. I am sure someone would be missed if I tried to list names, but it goes without saying that we appreciate each of you who have made a difference for children.
During this Thanksgiving season, may we be mindful of our many blessings, be thankful for a community that cares, and be thankful to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I wish for you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may this holiday season be your best ever.