Special to The Messenger

GRAPELAND – I just want to take a minute to say how proud I am of our school and community. During the past few weeks, two very unexpected deaths have affected our school and community. The sympathy expressed – along with the desire to help out in any way possible – has simply been awe inspiring.

The students, staff and citizens of our town are to be commended for the love and support shown to the families of Perry Frank and Gus Kennon.

When I think of these two, I think back to the Andy Griffith Show and the characters of Andy and Opie. They were pillars of a community named Mayberry and were famous for who they were, not really for what they did.

In my opinion, Perry and Gus were similar. They were good guys who went out of their way for people.

Because of their unselfish acts and their untimely deaths, our community was willing to go out of their way for them. I was so proud to see our Sandie Band members stand and play songs Mr. Frank had taught them at the vigil on Sunday evening.

I was even more impressed by the student led prayers as well as those students who stepped forward to take the microphone to honor Perry and Gus with kind words.

Finally, how awesome was our GISD staff and students to take the initiative to raise over $8,000.00 dollars to help a family in their time of need?

Yes, adversity will come at some point in our lives, but it is not the adversity that determines the person. It is the response to the adversity. Good job Sandie Nation. You showed that you are a community in unity, willing to face setbacks and then to gather strength for a comeback.

It is my hope we continue to honor Perry and Gus into the 2017-18 school year, that our school / community continues to reflect the “Sandie Pride Never Dies” spirit and that our students will arrive to school on August 21 focused on preparing themselves for the tough challenges awaiting them in this world.

I truly believe it is an honor to serve this community. I promise to do so each day with Passion, Respect, Intensity, Devotion and Excellence. I look forward to helping our GISD staff and community inspire our students to set high expectations for themselves in their attendance, academics, attitudes, appearance and most of all their aspirations.

We are making preparations to increase the expectations of our staff and students. I also want extend a clear invitation to our parents and members of the Grapeland community to become an integral part of our school system. The school system works better when all stakeholders come together, work together and stay together. Coming together is the beginning, working together is progress and staying together is perseverance. This is what we have just recently witnessed.

Grapeland Sandie Pride Never Dies.

Don Jackson

Superintendent-Grapeland ISD

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