Celebrating Obstacles Overcome


Husfelt 2020By Bill Husfelt, Superintendent, Bay District Schools

By the time you read this, the graduations will all be over and the members of the Class of 2022 will be scattering to all four corners of our country as they prepare for life after high school.

Attending graduations is one of the best things I get to do as your superintendent and this year it seemed as though our graduations were just a tiny bit more poignant than those in the past. This senior class has NOT had one “normal” year during their tenure in high school and they spoke about some of those challenges in their graduation speeches. They spoke of overcoming obstacles, of helping their families rebuild after the hurricane and the trials of adjusting to online learning, quarantines and the isolation that Covid-19 brought to so many.

But they also talked about the “helpers” … I think it was the iconic Mr. Rogers who used to tell us to always look for the helpers and our students followed his sage advice and found assistance. They found help from their families, their church families and friends and neighbors. They found help from their peers at school and they found help in every hallway at their schools as teachers and administrators went “above and beyond” to find solutions.

Booker T. Washington said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles he has overcome.” Given the sentiment in that quote, I have no doubt that our students are already successful and are destined for even greater success because of what they have overcome.

But it’s important to remember the people along the way who helped them walk the stage in May and those who prepared them to tackle the continuous challenges we all face in life. Many graduation speakers give “shout outs” to high school teachers, counselors, administrators and others but some of my favorites are those who mention others like kindergarten teachers, middle school band directors and volunteers like Little League coaches and others.

The truth is we never know the impact we’re having on students and seeds planted in kindergarten and the early years of school often don’t bloom until much later. I wish ALL of our faculty and staff members, all of our coaches and volunteers could attend every graduation so they could hear the gratitude from the students (and their parents) and so they could see our ultimate goal coming to fruition.

As we close out the 2021-2022 school year, I’d like to thank each of you for the role you play in the success of our students. Whether it’s chaperoning a field trip, sponsoring a club or team, volunteering in the classroom, donating to teacher appreciation week, praying for our students and educators or the myriad of other ways you support our schools, I want you to know that your contributions matter and are important. I often tell parents/guardians and grandparents that the number one indicator of a student’s potential for success is the level of involvement of his/her family and our beach schools are so blessed as a result of your dedication and commitment to public education.

Thank you. I hope you all have a restful and relaxing summer and we’re already looking forward to a fantastic 2022-2023 school year.