In 1982, Don and I took a back-packing trip to Europe. We ended up spending our first night sleeping in a doorway in Lille, France with about a dozen stranded travellers unable to find a room for the night before the railroads shut down.
We'd been tossed out onto the drizzly streets when the station closed, and we wandered in a pathetic little pack until we found a covered, recessed entranceway to pass the night.
At daylight, we needed to find our way back to the station, but we were lost. And very tired, hungry and damp. In abject misery and frustration, I stood on a corner and wailed, "Ou est le gare? Ou est le gare?"
Except I pronounced it wrong. I said "guerre," not "gare."
A lovely Frenchman in a nice top coat, hat and cane came up to me and calmly explained, "Mademoiselle, the war has ended, forty years ago. You can go home now!"
I had been pleading: Where's the WAR? Where's the WAR?
Well I'm here to tell you that the war is over, and fellow citizens, it's time to get back to education.
Let's all focus on making sure our students have the best system of public education, in any public school district in America. Or elsewhere.
Isn't that why we moved here? To make smart kids smarter?
Most of us moved here to give our kids an "edge" in the marketplace for advanced education and employment. Bloomfield schools were never cheap. We all knew we would have to pay to get good schools. We pay premium local taxes to keep them good.
Over the past few years, we've had a sustained disagreement as to what our high school facility(s) should look like. One big? Two small? Here's the deal: The decision has been made. Let's roll with it.
Better: Let's get excited.
We are going to build a nice new high school at the Andover site. We are not going to have two high schools and whatever nostalgic or other advantages that might have. Let's get involved and make sure our high school is FANTASTIC.
I said "our." Yours, mine, ours. OUR high school.
Let's make sure graduates of the BHSD are in demand for college and career opportunities. It "takes a village" of smart, committed people to provide the foundation of a great public school district.
Let's shake off the "PTSD," or other bad feelings, of the past several years. Let's dig in and make this work.
5500 BHSD students are counting on us to show them we can do it.