Opinion: Potsdam Central thankful to community for support during pandemic, superintendent says
One of the Core Values and Beliefs of the Potsdam Central School District reads: “Partnerships with our families and community are essential to our success.” Never has this proven more true than over the last three months. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to close our school doors, our families and community truly stepped up to support our students.
We were pleased to be able to provide continued food service for our students. In order to do so, we relied on the cooperation of several community partners. Thanks to the following agencies and businesses who allowed us to park a school bus and distribute food: Hannawa Fire Department, SeaComm Federal Credit Union, Tractor Supply Company, Village of Potsdam (Pine Street Arena), West Potsdam Bingo Hall, and the West Stockholm Fire Department, Thanks, too, to The Potsdam Elks Club, The Hannawa Falls Fire Department, The Potsdam Fire Department, The West Potsdam Fire Department, and The West Stockholm Fire Department for the use of coolers to help with the food distribution.In addition, we are so appreciative of Laurell Brault, founder of the Potsdam Snack Pack Program. Thanks to her efforts, and dozens of community volunteers, students continued to receive snack packs throughout the period of school closure. And, there are plans to continue through the summer months as well. Last school year, the Snack Pack Program provided 8,876 snack packs for students. For the 2019-2020 school year, that number has jumped to over 11,000. Thanks, too, to all of the community members who donated food to the Snack Pack Program. Many of these donations came through the Amazon Wish List – such an easy way to make a difference! https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/XXAPUPRX528Y?&sort=default
As the school year came to a close, administrators, parents, and staff looked for ways to safely replicate the milestone events that celebrate the end of a successful school year. Because we couldn’t wave goodbye to our students as the buses pulled away from school this year, staff participated in a district-wide parade so students could see their teachers one last time. The two and half hour route covered the entire school district and we were greeted with signs, balloons, and the smiling faces of our students and many community members who showed their appreciation for all the staff had done during the school closure.
Thanks to all of the agencies and departments that participated in the parade and helped with traffic control: The Hannawa Falls Fire Department; The New York State Police; The Potsdam Fire Department; The Potsdam Village Police Department; The St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department; The West Potsdam Fire Department; and The West Stockholm Fire Department.
The After-Prom Party parents, who had fundraised throughout the year in order to provide a safe alcohol and drug-free after-prom party, switched gears and worked with High School Principal, Mark Bennett, to organize a number of events and tributes for the members of the PCS Class of 2020. Lawn signs were purchased and delivered to each senior’s home, and signs with each graduate’s photo were installed on the front lawn of the high school. A number of downtown businesses agreed to display posters of students in their window, as a sign of community support for our graduates. On Saturday, June 13th, a parade was conducted, with seniors riding in the back of pick-up trucks. We are grateful to all of the agencies and departments who assisted with and participated in making this event special for students and their families.
Finally, I am grateful to the Potsdam community for supporting the 2020-2021 school budget. We know this is a difficult time for many families, but by approving the school budget you are demonstrating your commitment to our mission: To inspire, prepare, and empower our students to lead fulfilled lives as compassionate, productive, and engaged citizens.” Thank you. We could not do what we do without our families and the entire Potsdam Central School District Community.