Special to The Messenger

I’m sitting here thinking on a Sunday night before a week off for Thanksgiving break. Thinking is something I do a lot of lately but then I thought instead of thinking, I should be thanking. Our enrollment has grown from 501 students at the end of last year to 576 students. Certainly, GISD has a lot to be thankful for. We are off to a great beginning in the 18-19 school year and look forward to future challenges.

Yes, I took a break from thinking and took some time to focus on thanking. I am thankful for our students who are hungry for success in all that they do. We have some awesome young men and women in our schools who have the potential to be great contributors to society. For the most part they practice what we preach and accept the direction and the correction that we give them. Of course there will always be some students who are like water and choose to take the path of least resistance, but it is then that they must run into a berm to affect their flow. On the other hand, I am proud to say that our students rise to the occasion and willingly rise to the level of inspection and expectation.

Maroon strong is the theme that our cheer sponsor came into the school year with. Our cheer team is quickly becoming a staple in our school system and their energy, efforts and enthusiasm are contagiously spreading throughout Sandie Nation.

This energy was found in our Girls Cross Country Team who advanced to the State Cross Country Meet. It was also found in our Volleyball team that advanced to Bi-district play. Now our girls are working toward proving that they are an elite team in Basketball. Maroon Strong is also consistently found in our Outstanding Ag Dept. The Senior Quiz Team brought home another National Championship and the Ag Issues Team is also on the way to State Competition. Not to be outdone, our football team is definitely on a roll. We are a hair away from being undefeated and continue to steamroll our opponents. Detroit, hopefully, is our next victim on Friday night at 7:00 in Athens.

Maroon Strong can also be found in our JH athletic teams who are fighting to keep our winning tradition alive for our future Sandies. We certainly like what we are seeing from our JH students. They have the highest attendance in the district and are working hard academically also. When walking through the halls, you see smiles and students who are eager for success.

Wow, speaking of Future Sandies, great things are going on at Grapeland Elementary… The staff and students are not waiting for our new school; they are in pursuit of excellence right now. Our 3 year-olds have settled in and Grapeland Elementary is presently enrolling 287 students which is an increase of about 38 students from last year. Yes, we do look forward to our new campus as it is coming to fruition smoothly. Reality set in last week as we sat down to start looking at furniture.

I would be remiss if I did not mention our Fellowship of Christian Students and Kids For Christ. These students have united and now have a monthly service called Courts of Praise at our HS Gym. I am proud to say that they know who comes first. #matthew6:33.

I must also say that I am thankful for our outstanding human resources who use their influence to create a response and are invaluable to any organization. Positive, passionate and purposeful people give students the push that they need to perform at a high level. I am proud to say that we have staff members who value the work much more than the perks. These staff members daily strive to add value to our student’s lives.

Last year I spoke often about the 6 A’s to success which are the following: Attendance, Attitude, Academics, Attention, Appearance and Aspiration. Well, I must add a 7th A. It is Accountability. Our Accountability Rating has our Administrative team and school board highly motivated with intentional actions to influence improvement.

Finally, I am thankful for the safety and security of our students and staff. If you visit our schools, you will see some different things that have been done to help keep our schools more safe.

In conclusion, I am also thankful for our parents. It is an honor to serve you and your children with our great staff members and our outstanding board of trustees. Please visit our website at www.grapelandisd.org or follow us on the Grapeland ISD Facebook account and download our Grapeland ISD app for your smartphones. Together we will continue to make a difference in the lives of your children and our students. #SPND