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We have so much to be thankful for

As we enter a season that focuses on thankfulness, I’ve naturally been reflecting on all the many things I have to be thankful for in my life. Personally, I have much to be thankful for when it comes to my family, my friends, my health and my earthly blessings – and professionally, I have many things to be thankful for as the superintendent of Russellville City Schools. 

We are blessed with amazing students, the best teachers and such dedicated staff and administrators at RCS. We’ve also accomplished many things in the past few years that would be cause for being thankful.

But what I’m most thankful for right now at RCS is the culture we are creating and the effect that is having on people inside and outside our schools. 

For those who might not be aware, there has been a big push for several years to make sure we are teaching the whole student at RCS. We don’t want to focus just on academic education, or just on athletic ability, or just on fine arts talent, or just on career preparedness. We want to focus on all of it, including developing students’ character and leadership skills and their ability to become happy and productive citizens once they leave our schools and enter the real world.

Recently I’ve witnessed tangible examples of how these lessons and this culture of excellence in all areas is paying off. 

One example is our state champion baseball team from this past spring was also recently ranked No. 1 in academics in Class 5A in the state. Top-ranked in their sport, top-ranked in their academics: That’s a pretty impressive feat that shows our coaches are holding our student-athletes accountable on and off the field to develop well-rounded young people, and they are rising to the occasion. 

Another example is watching our students on Friday nights and how they support one another because they have learned the importance of doing that for each other. The band cheers on the football team and joins in with the cheerleaders; the student section hypes up the team and supports the cheerleaders and band; the cheerleaders set the tone and cheer for everyone playing a role on the field; and on Homecoming night, when the band performed the halftime show after the game since the Homecoming Court presentation took place during halftime, the football team came out to watch and support the band.

What an awesome sight that was to see: so much support and kindness being spread among our students. 

We have Peer Helper programs to help students who need help or advice. There are community service projects constantly in the works to help with local needs, other school districts facing hardships and, most recently, to help the families of Sgt. Nick Risner and Sheriff Shannon Oliver in their times of loss. There have been so many other small instances of good character, kindness, helpfulness, and just the well-roundedness of our students on display.

As a superintendent, it makes me thankful and grateful to see that kind of mindset being so prevalent at our schools, and I hope it is an encouragement to our community, as well, to know these are the lessons the students at RCS are learning. 

As always, it’s GREAT to be a Golden Tiger!

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