One word can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream;
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald Spring.
One smile can bring a friendship,
One handclasp can lift a soul;
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One cheer can obtain a goal.
One vote can change a Nation,
One sunbeam can lift a room;
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.
One look can change two lives;
One kiss can make love bloom.
One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer;
One hope can raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.
One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what's true;
One life can make a difference,
One life is me and you....
Seven years ago, our school community was impacted by violence. The foundation of over 140 years of graduates was cracked by one act that lasted less than one minute. Our staff and community were heartbroken, and numb; leaving us unsettled in our spirit. Countless heroes stood grounded and poised that day that gave us strength.
In the midst of our confusion, we knew what we needed to do. We needed to be a community...we needed to see our humility...we needed to recognize our treasured stories of achievements...we needed to refocus our lens on respect, and the dignity of every person… we need to stand in optimism and nurture each other. We needed to be reminded of our values.
For seven years, we have kept our eyes on our purpose and our community. For the past seven years, I have kept my eyes fixed on this quote to help us through our healing.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.
Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened,
ambition inspired, and success achieved.
Our school culture and personal character weren't developed in ease and quiet.
Character defines the very essence of who we are, where we are, and demonstrates the pureness of our choices. At Chardon High School, we recognize the beauty of every student and every staff member's story along with seeing the value of the human spirit. Our staff emulates compassion and love to the children that they encounter each day. People often ask me, "what makes Chardon unique", and I immediately tell them that our school community epitomizes excellence in every deed, word, and lesson. Our staff teaches students to understand the value of developing meaningful relationships and ways to pay their lives forward. These lessons transcend the curriculum to develop young men and women not only for college, and careers---but for life.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Reputation is the shadow. Character is the tree. “ Our teachers express that character is much more than just reputation...it is who we are even when nobody's watching. Having a good character means doing the right thing just because it's the right thing to do. This is the fabric that creates our outreach programs in Project Linus, Great Pal's, AC4P, FMP, NHS Tutoring, Interact and other acts of servant leadership.
Every family has its own story. As you reflect upon this, you may think about individuals inside of your circles that hurt or may be suffering from emotional or physical ailments. Just as your own capacity for handling situations vary---the person next to you is experiencing HIS/HER own story. It is so important to recognize those who might need your patience and understanding with their situation.
This year, our district, like many around the country has faced the reality of lower enrollment and funding. In order to right size our district, we closed two buildings and shifted grade levels to the existing buildings. Every person within the district was impacted and had to expand their ability to live the mission of Chardon Schools. Our high school began to plan for a new 8-12 look. We knew that we had to build upon the programs that we established at the high school to help align our new grade.
Within the newly established Circuit of Success, our existing FMP programs, Topper Time period, and our focus on the 4E's: Enrollment, Enlistment, Employment, and Entrepreneurship--we knew we were on the right track to develop students for life and career readiness. Our teachers worked intentionally within our curriculum to maintain our culture, climate, and educational outcomes.
Just as every family has their own story, so do we at CHS as a larger family. Together, we define the paths set forth before us. We are Hilltoppers. As Hilltoppers, we climb higher than others, and model with humility our values as a beacon of hope for those that look up to us. The paths that we have faced have not been easy. There have been moments of difficulty, moments of sorrow, along with defining moments of integrity.
We are not defined by a calendar date in February. We are Chardon, born and raised. Defined by consistency in action and the determination to succeed by living the truth and leading the way with dignity.
Kindness resonates into every fiber of who we are. It changes us to strive towards being better, it helps us to slow down and really pay attention to who we are and what our purpose in life actually is.
Life is a journey up the side of a mountain, but we are 'Toppers. We love to live, and live to love.
Everyone has their own response to this week that we value.
If you need, ask.
If you have, give.
If you embrace, receive- knowing that no word is needed.
Expressing gratitude and continued support this week and always,
Douglas P. Murray, Principal