There was no logical reason for my applying for the job of District Technology Director for the Storm Lake Community School District twelve years ago. I was a late comer to education, a HS English teacher of ten years who spent most of those years also teaching technology classes while learning to manage all the technology needs of a small private school. For some reason I thought it was a good idea to shoot for the moon and throw my resume out there to a much larger school, and for some reason the Storm Lake Community School District said, "Why not?"
There have been many moments over the past twelve years that have made it clear to me why I am so very happy that the universe brought me here. Today was one of those moments.
Dakota Caldwell's presentation to the high school student body about the importance of technology to the quality of his life was inspiring. I met Dakota in my office a couple of months ago when he had some questions about a project he was working on. I was impressed with him then, and I was impressed with him today. He is well spoken, self assured, and intelligent. His message of encouraging more innovation was just what our students need to hear in this world of ever changing job markets and societal needs.
Dakota's presentation was followed by a group of student dancers who showed the rest of us grace, beauty, and the results of hard work and dedication. The athleticism that dancing had to have taken was phenomenal, and the pride in culture was apparent.
Both of these performances were awe inspiring, but there was something else that put me into that special place of "there is nowhere else I would rather be." That was the reaction of the entire student body. Both groups received rapt attention from the crowd. There was laughter. There were tears. There were appropriate whoops and hollers. There was complete silence. There were lit cell phones in appreciation of the dancers. And, there were spontaneous standing ovations for both of these performances. The appreciation of the talents of their peers was evident and palpable.
I don't know why I was so lucky as to have the universe align in some strange twist of life events to bring me to Storm Lake twelve years ago, but I do know this. Our schools are a model for the entire country. We are a community of learners who although far from perfect, as human beings are, come together over and over and over again in respect and caring for one another. I've seen and felt it a million times here at SLCSD. Today was one of those days.