Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Non scholae, sed vitae, discimus!"

Independent School District 548 has a new online home as of today. What do you think of the site? Anything missing you'd like to see?

Come Visit the World in Pelican Rapids

by Deborah Wanek, ISD548 Superintendent of Schools

At first glance it would appear as if a small slice of the world has settled in Pelican Rapids. Our community is rich with a variety of cultures and languages. With this small slice of the globe at our fingertips we are able to learn a lot about the world first-hand without even leaving our community. Recently I had the opportunity to hear about the struggles of one of the students who came to our area. Life is not always an easy path and when we hear about the difficulties others have endured in foreign countries it makes us appreciate our life in America even more. I think it makes us stronger when we can learn from others and we are able to be part of their acclimating process to America.

I have had the opportunity to hear a variety of our students speak about our school and community and it is evident that they value this diversity. They enjoy their many friends and have quickly befriended students who are new to the school and the area. I heard one girl boast that she could greet people in three different languages. The many different languages may bring some bumps along the way as far as communication goes but it is a struggle worth the effort.

This mixture of cultures in Pelican Rapids reminds me of the early years of our country, a time when many people from Eastern Europe came to America to find a better life for themselves. That part of our history was really not that long ago. My grandmother was an immigrant to this country. She told the story of when she first received news that she could come to America. She was so excited she picked up a broom and danced all around the house. She came to America at age 18 not knowing the language; I think she must have had great courage. She had various struggles along life’s journey while in America but she was able to make a good life for herself. Without any other family members here in America she had to rely on herself, her good work ethic and the kindness and understanding of others. She endured some struggles and I am grateful to the people that showed her kindness and helped her acclimate to her new culture and life.

Our students seem to have a deep understanding of the world around them and life in general. I recently heard one of our students talk about her understanding of leadership. She said she used to think that a good leader was someone who took charge and got things done. Now she realizes that a good leader needs to hear various perspectives, get information from all the people involved and work as a team, bringing out the best in everyone. I found that to be an impressive insight for someone who is so young. I think I want her to run for public office! I guess that is why I think the Latin phrase, "Non scholae, sed vitae, discimus!" fits us so well at the Pelican Rapids School. Translated it means We Learn, Not for School But for Life. The students in Pelican Rapids are getting a great academic education and added to that is a strong understanding of the world around them and life in general. When you get a chance, “Come visit the world in Pelican Rapids,” it is a great place to learn and grow.

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