December 18, 2014
Dear Gardiner Families,
I would like to wish all the Gardiner families a safe and happy holiday season and winter break. One of the greatest gifts I am given as a middle school principal is seeing adolescent development before my eyes. It happens on a daily, if not hourly basis. There are the academic achievements, of course. Almost more impressive this time of year is the generous spirit and individual talents of these amazing young people. Last week we heard the beautiful sounds of our seventh and eighth grade bands as well as our choirs. We had more than sixty students audition for our musical production, “Alice in Wonderland”. I am so impressed with the performing arts skills of our students and the staff who take time to nurture them.
Today we had a U-haul van pull up to gather the large bags of toys collected for “Toys for Tots” organized by Mr. Upkes advisory class. The first 100% student generated newspaper was published this week. You can find it attached. Student council has also been extremely busy. They made individualized name boards for all of teachers to use during emergency drills, They collected, arranged to be signed, and delivered more than 300 cards to elderly in Oregon City care centers. They organized a canned food drive that brought in more than 8 barrels of food for local food banks. These students also helped raise funds and shopped for several Gardiner families who are in need of extra support this holiday season.
Beyond these great students, we also had many parent volunteers help us serve more than 200 hot chocolates to students who had redeemed their “Gotchas”, tokens they earn for exhibiting great behaviors. Some very patient parent volunteers helped with a major, google document back up effort. Additionally, several generous donors contributed close to $2,000.00 recently to pay off lunch accounts of many students, help fund special projects for our Life Skills classroom, and help support our “Go Kit” fund drive. Thank you.
I am so proud of the kind-heartedness, compassion and dedication to serving others that these young people show us daily. They are gifts to us, and our community! I hope you are able to enjoy them, relax and unwind over this winter break. I wish you and your families a safe and happy holiday season. I look forward to seeing you all in the new year.