April 24, 2012
I had the opportunity last year to be at your all-day assembly at Vicksburg High School in Vicksburg, Michigan. This is a school that I substitute at on a frequent basis and was pleased to join my colleagues from Portage Central High School, Portage Michigan, where I serve as a member of the Board of Education.
I did not know what to expect, which, as it turned out, was a good thing. Being able to relate to teenagers and young adults is a daunting task, to say the least. What I saw from you was a message that took many forms. You encouraged the students to find out with they were good at, what they loved with a passion, and to always remember, "there are no guarantees... No guarantees." You encourage them to look out for the person sitting alone in the cafeteria, and to reach out by simply saying, hello or how is your day going?
Your message also was clear that all students can become leaders in their school and be able to look out for those who are targeted by bullies. By becoming an active bystander, this behavior can be curtailed and/or stopped. As a result of this day, this incredible day, I took the message with my colleagues back to Portage.
The result was a two-day assembly of 700 students each day. You were present during the lunchtime to meet with students, offer encouragement, signed posters and answer their questions. That evening, you presented to our community on "taking the fear out of parenting." The students were asking to voluntarily sign a pledge against bullying, and hundreds of them did so. The principal, Eric Alburtus, cannot remember the student body ever giving a presenter a standing ovation!
Portage Public Schools looks forward to working with you in the future as we continue to strive for a safe environment for student learning and achievement. You were put on this earth for this special ability, and we are most grateful to have had you in our community.
Portage Public Schools Trustee
Board of Education
Grant Public Schools Notre Dame Prep
Northern Highlands High School Holly High School
Lakeland High School Portage Public Schools Portage Central High School
Real Life Heroes The Leadership Initiative Robert Humphrey
Kimie Ueoka Chase Petroelje Plainview-Old Bethpage High School
Dustin Peltz Boyne City Public Schools JFK High School
Lowcountry Graduate Center Mancelona High School Email Letter
Mancelona Schools Zeeland West High School Rogers City Schools
Royal Oak High School Vicksburg High School Walkerville Public Schools