Saturday, April 25, 2009

When Thank You Isn't Enough to Convey Gratitude...

Yesterday was quite a day! In a typical day in the life of a principal, the range of emotions can be unbelievable. One minute you are laughing at something darling that a child said, five minutes later you might be dealing with an angry parent. Then a staff member may come in with a personal difficulty that you listen to and empathize with. Two students will be in a fight and you must deal with that issue. So in the course of an hour you may go from laughing, to sternness, to.........

Well yesterday was definitely that kind of day. In this pos
t I am only going to talk about what in incredible day it was for me. The morning started when our wonderful student newscasters, Riley and Briley, announced on the morning news that I had been named Gilbert Education Foundation Administrator of the Year. I had found out about this award about a week ago. The students in my school had all written a word to describe me and made a "wordle" for me. A wordle takes all of the words and mixes them together to make word art. The really cool thing about it is that it takes the words that are used the most and makes them stand out more. I had never seen one before. Then they invited each class in our school to send their two best huggers to the office to give me a hug. In the next few minutes, I was visited by about 50 kids and got the best hugs. I was so touched by this. Thank you, Riley, Briley, Cade, and Tom!!!!
Last night was the Gilbert Education Foundation dinner where the awards were given out. My wonderfully supportive family was there and I thank them for being there with me. Teresa, Judy, Glennie, Kerri, Yaya, Pat, Cecilia and Jay were all there. It meant a lot to me. Thank you, Judy, for paying for everyone.Two of my wonderful teacher friends were also there, Dottie and Carol. They had written nomination letters for me and Dottie put them all together in a wonderful scrapbook. I had not read them until this morning--I don't know what to say. Thank you, Dottie, Carol, Barb, Louise, Kathy, Nurse Barb, Shirley, Heather, Shannon, and Dolores for the letters you wrote. I will cherish them forever!!
I was honored along with two colleagues in the district--one teacher and one support staff. I couldn't think of anyone better to get an honor with than Sherry Hornby from our district testing department. Sherry is one of the nicest human beings that you would ever want to be around. She is at Gilbert El quite often as she participates in our Tiger Buddy mentoring program. She is a wonderful mentor to a student each year and always goes above and beyond. Thank you, Sherry, for all that you do!

The Gilbert Education Foundation has given financial assistance to many of our families at Gilbert El over the past several years. They have been generous and have always given when I have called. I feel so honored to have been chosen by them for this award. Thank you to Darcey, Shane, Jeff and everyone associated with the Foundation!!!

Something else happened yesterday that I think says everything about what being an educator is all about as far as I am concerned. I am going to give a little background first. There is a mom at our school who has terminal cancer. She has two elementary age children, a high school daughter, and a four year old son. This is their first year at our school. They have no family in the area. Our social worker and nurse and our parent liaison have gone above and beyond for this family, as have several of the teachers and parents in the children's classrooms. Above and beyond doesn't even begin to explain what they have done. Last weekend, one of our teachers, Nancy, arranged to have her daughter-in-law who is a photographer, take pictures of the family so that the children would have a lasting gift of their mom. Jan, another teacher, took mom to get her hair done for the photo shoot. I am putting the link to the blog so that you can see these beautiful pictures and read what Tami wrote on her blog. I can guarantee that it will bring tears to your eyes. Here is the site: www.tamiproffitt.blogspot.com It is the post for Sunday, April 19.

About noon, I walked out of my office and saw a deputy sheriff come in the door with what looked like an envelope in her hand. There was a lot of activity in the office right then so she waited patiently. I stood out there for a minute to see why she was there as law enforcement visits aren't always "fun." I heard her tell Cris that she went to Gilbert El as a child and that her mother had died when she was 10. She told Cris that everyone had been so kind to her when her mom died and she has always remembered that kindness. She went on to explain to Cris that she had found out about the mom with terminal cancer from Tami's blog and she asked about what school it was. When she found out it was Gilbert El, she wanted to do something. So she handed Cris the envelope and said that it was for the family. When Cris asked her name, she said she didn't want to give it. She just wanted to give back because of how she had been treated as a child. In the envelope were five $20 bills....

This says it all to me and the fact that it happened yesterday....... This just confirms my belief that what we as educators do each day makes such a profound impact in so many, many ways and in ways we may never know.

I am very grateful that I have the job that I do, at the school where I am, with the teachers, staff, and students that I work with each and every day. Thank you just doesn't seem to be enough to convey all of my emotions, but I will say it anyway...........
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!




11 remarks:

Anonymous said...

My, what a couple of days this has been for you, Sheila. Almost too much to take in all at once...to realize all you have done for so many people during your career in the most rewarding and wonderful profession there is!
Congratulations on a well deserved honor and just know you are always in my heart and prayers.
Love,
Sandra

Anonymous said...

Congratulations again Sheila on your most deserved award ~ you are a wonderful friend and princiPAL! I thought all that went on yesterday for you was so GREAT. I was so happy for you! I'll talk with you later about the wonderful girl that gave the donation . . . another amazing story. This "pay it forward" business just keeps on growing. I'm glad you had such a wonderful day and evening! We were all with you in spirit! Thank you for all you do!
Love & hugs,
Nancy

Cheela said...

Thank you, Sandra and Nancy. You are both part of the many reasons I have loved my job!!!

Anonymous said...

You really are a great principal to work for !
KW

Tami said...

WOW....YOUR school is OUTSTANDING and so is your leadership. The outpouring support your school offers is the perfect example of your modeling and caring spirit. Being a part of your campus...
if only as an extension of giving...reminded me how wonderful it feels to give. Thank you for your love of photography! I couldn't be more proud to be a part of your community.

velvet brick said...

What a wonderful post, Sheila...in so many, many ways! Congratulations! on your honor - I am so grateful to have been a part of it all! Your stories of the hugfest, the wordle, your family coming Friday to surround you and the story of the deputy paying it forward are all concrete testaments to who you are. I'm not sure there are enough words to truly convey the impact you have had on every path which you have crossed....as as you can see....it carries on, and on, and on. WE are the fortunate ones who can call you friend, principal, colleague, family! Thank you for the wonderful stories today - truly uplifting for the spirit!
Love you,
Carol
P.S. my friend from Iowa hasn't called yet....

Julie said...

Sheila....Congratulations. What an honor to receive this award. Your dedication to education and to Gilbert El is inspiring. You are an amazing leader and a shining example for all of us. I love the wordle....and the fact the students made it makes it that much more special. You have been by far the best principal I have ever had ( and I have had 3 since you!). The story about the lady who gave a donation....oh I miss those moments....miss working at school where everyone cares so much...and is so dedicated.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful event with all of us!

Martha said...

Congratulations, Sheila, on your very deserved award! I love reading your posts about Gilbert El. They are truly inspiring and make me want to strive to be a better person.

Susie of Arabia said...

I can't think of anyone who would deserve the award more than you! You are like the energizer bunny - you just keep giving, giving, giving. Congratulations, Cheela! You had me crying at the end of the post - your life is so fulfilling and rewarding and you are making a difference in many people's lives. I love you!

Jane said...

You are so deserving of this award! It really is an honor to work with you. I really appreciate all that you do for me and my family.
I loved reading the story about the officer, I saw her in the office and of course thought the worse. How nice to hear one more thing for good that goes on at our school.
You're the best!

Anonymous said...

Sheila,
i just read your blog about the wonderful award you received. CONGRATULATION! I am so proud of you, and I can just see your mom smiling down from heaven upon you with such great pride. What an honor it must be to work with and for you.

Sheila, I gladly would have been there had I known about this great honor. You are truly an inspiration.

Love,
Marion