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A 2023 Holiday Message

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Comments: 3

I've been retired for 20 years! As I reflect upon my last position, Superintendent of Schools, I consider one of my biggest successes hiring Sharon Toriello as high school principal.

Sharon turned around a high school that was good into one that was great. She always gave 100% and was able to make tough decisions into the right ones.

The qualities of an outstanding educator are the same as an outstanding person: honesty, loyalty, morality, compassion, intelligence, and sense of humor. Sharon possesses them all.

Yes, it's been 20 years since we worked together, yet we are still in touch. It is a testimony to our admiration and respect for each other.

She gave me permission to share her 2023 holiday message on my BLOG. I hope it is as meaningful to you as it is for me.

"In a rather unsettling way, it feels almost strange to be celebrating the holiday season as the whole world seems to be falling apart. The juxtaposition of joy and tragedy, of festivity and fearfulness, feels palpable this year as we struggle to find or even see solutions to complex problems that overwhelm us.

All around, a common phrase resonates in daily conversation: 'MUST NEVER.' The atrocities, the inhumanity of war, MUST NEVER silence the insistence of peace; parents MUST NEVER experience the pain of searching for their children buried in rubble; young students MUST NEVER walk across a college campus feeling threatened by their religious or cultural affiliations; the toxic need for power MUST NEVER supersede the mission to find responsible resolution; and the list goes on and on in an unrelenting assault on what the planet SHOULD and MUST look like, the planet we know as ours, a place where men and women and children SHOULD and MUST walk together in harmony and feel forever unafraid. It is folly to turn a blind eye to the world stage; in fact, it is irresponsible, as it requires our full attention. But it is equally irresponsible to lose hope.

Sometimes it feels more reasonable for the poets to rule the world rather than 'the officials,' especially when they find the magic to speak to us in hopeful ways, inspiring us to hear their voices and to hope with them when they suggest, 'If all the hands that reach could touch.' It may be wise for us to listen and to take our own action in keeping with their gentle optimism.

So this year, as we soon take our leave of 2023 and welcome 2024, let's go with the poets in hopefulness as we begin to light the candles, trim the trees, wrap the gifts, gather our families, and reaffirm our faith; and as we join with others in prayer for the world to find a sense of balance, kindness, and reason, both at home and abroad, may we embrace the renewed dawning of '...The Age of Aquarius where peace shall guide the planets and love shall steer the stars.'

An idealistic dream? Most definitely! But perhaps we have all been summoned by both history and circumstance to dare it to come true.

Happy Holidays to you and to those you most love."

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  1. Susan Zellea Susan Zellea So well written and we all should take heed of the message and MUT NEVER. Lois, you hired a wonderful leader! Wednesday, December 13, 2023
  2. Maria Garcia Maria Garcia Beautiful message! Thursday, December 14, 2023
  3. Connie Connie What a lovely, heartfelt message! Sunday, December 17, 2023