From the Desk of GISD Superintendent Don Jackson

Grapeland Texas, The Grapeland Messenger

Special to The Messenger

On Monday, October 16th, I gave our GISD school board a First 100 days report. In the report, I outlined some of the things that we have been able to accomplish since I so graciously accepted the position as superintendent of schools in Grapeland. I think we are off to a good start and I feel blessed to be able to represent our schools and community here in Grapeland.

The thing I most enjoy about this position is being able to work with our students. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying forging relationships with our staff and stakeholders as well, but it is our youth whose lives are yet to be determined. I am so happy to play a part in trying to influence our students positively. In my working with our students I have developed some favorites and I would like to outline a few of my favorite students.

Some of my favorites are students who dress for success. They know the importance of having the correct appearance and how to carry themselves with dignity as they display a determination to strive for success. They see the big picture and are eager to soak up wise counsel. These students understand they are preparing for their futures and they are getting ready for success by practicing great habits that will determine their success. It’s hard not to like this type of aspiration and determination to improve their situation.

Some of my favorites are the student-athletes who play hard regardless of the score. They may be tired and not feel good, but they continue to fight and press on through adversity, no matter what the score is. It is hard not to like their attitude. As I was watching us play Groveton, a game in which we lost, our quarterback was knocked down and pressured time and time again, but he kept getting up and did not yell at anyone or point any fingers. I was thinking, this is the proper way to play the game. You win as a team and you lose as a team, but even if you get knocked down, you just keep getting up and never, ever give up.

Some of my favorite students are those who are willing to try something they have never tried before, or do something they have never done before. These students are willing to get out of their comfort zone ant try new things… In our first football game of the year, the winning touchdown was caught by a player who did not play football last year… In the Peanut Queen pageant, we had contestants who are very shy do a great job and had fun doing it; on our District Champion / State qualifying Girls cross Country team, it is made up of students who did not run last year. Finally, we have asked many to step up to a mic to say a few words and they did it. It is hard not to like this willingness to show up, step up or speak up.

Some of my favorites are students who are missing a key component in their lives, but they don’t let it stop them from striving to thrive. Many of our students live without their mom or their dad for many different reasons, but they don’t use that for an excuse because they are already self-motivated. They may not have the support other students have, but they still have the work ethic! This gives me great joy because I also was missing a key component in my life. If we focus on what we have and not what we don’t have – the sky is the limit.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the students who volunteer their time and their efforts. We have this team of kids who have picked up trash at football games during the game, picked up trash on Mondays after the games, washed school buses and have given their time for a 10-minute meeting on Fridays to get a spiritually uplifting message. Wow, how encouraging it is to know that we have students with this type of character flowing through their veins. This character will lead them to great places, perhaps they will end up like our Homecoming King and Queen this year. Maybe they will end up with receiving some unexpected recognition because of their disposition.

You know being an educator is more than just getting a paycheck. It has to be a passion. We have the opportunity to shape and mold the future. There are many who think they can’t, but they can. There are many who say they won’t, but they will. It will never happen without the voice of encouragement in the background saying… ‘You are somebody. You can be anything you are willing to work for and wait for.’

Yes, we are from a small town, but we don’t have to have a small goal or a small dream. With the proper work ethic and attitude, we can be National Champions like our FFA Senior Quiz team is. Success will come to all of our students if they have a fire that is on the inside like the bonfire we witnessed during Homecoming week.

Let me conclude by saying I look forward to what the future holds in our district. Final plans are being made for the new elementary campus that is about to be constructed. We are communicating and collaborating with our staff and students about the importance of academics and preparing our students for their futures and enjoying the extracurricular competition along the way. It is my goal and the goal of our Board members to continually seek improvement and look forward to future challenges and opportunities. Grapeland ISD is striving to thrive and we would like to say thank you to our community for your support.  #SPND

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