Paynesville Press - October 16, 2002

Community Perspective

Encouraged by volunteers at school

By Robyn Spaeth

As of last spring, the certainties of our school district were in limbo due to the budget cuts. Starting this year was a little nerve-racking.

I know there is a tough road ahead regarding funding for schools, but what I think is hopeful is the people. There was money raised by the "Keep the Quality" Campaign, teaching positions saved, and a foundation formed for later needs.

And I would like to address how people stepped forward to volunteer. The morale of my junior high student and that of older students was pretty low. They were aware that their athletic and extracurricular programs were cut and were to be run this year through Community Education. It sounded like getting "the short end of the straw."

As a parent, I didn't know what to tell them or what to expect. However, as the information was mailed out to the students, it seemed that things would be just fine.

I reassured my son that "these people care about you and believe in the program. They don't want it to die. They know the importance of the balance of academics and extracurricular activities."

I said this with passion and so wanted to believe it was true.

Well, I was pleasantly surprised to see the coaches rise to the occasion. We have personally been touched by the time and energy given by the junior high football coaches, and I know this is true for the other junior high sports as well.

So rather than complain about what we don't have, I am thankful for what we do have. I believe this is a real sign of hope in our community. It is nice to see these same people that were coaching with pay have still stepped forward without pay.

I hope this is temporary for this school year only.

I see it as a real blessing that they really believed in the program and did not want it slighted for the sake of the children.

Robyn Spaeth and her husband have three kids in the Paynesville schools.

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