Dear Eagle Family,
Last summer my husband and I spent two weeks in Hawaii. I am not much of a souvenir buyer, I actually hate shopping with a passion, but when we travel there are two items that I look for: a holiday ornament, and a quilt that represents the place we are visiting. Holiday ornaments are usually easy to find, but that is not true for quilts. I have found that ornaments come in all shapes and sizes and are often machine produced. A quilt is different, it tells a story, and is the result of hours, days, sometimes even years of meticulous work. Quilts are made of multiple pieces, each with its own meaning, stitched together by hand and sewn onto a backing. They can be a reflection of the area the quilt maker is from, or of the person the quilt is made for. Regardless of the reason for its creation, the pieces of a handmade quilt will always carry meaning.
At the beginning of each new school year, I reflect on the history of the school. Gabrielino opened its doors in 1994 and started with a teaching staff of 18. That original staff consisted of people who were not afraid of voicing what they believed was best for students. They were individuals who were able to mesh different ideas and experiences into shared expectations for the new school. They were the first patches in the fabric of the Gabrielino quilt.
In years that followed, new staff members were added. That meant new voices and ideas were added to the mix. As a result programs were added, or expanded, and the school was beginning to be recognized in the valley. The quilt continued to grow.
This school year we have hired 13 new teachers, the largest number since the hiring of the first staff. Like the first staff, our new teachers bring new voices, ideas, and experiences from the schools they have taught at. Like the first sets of teachers, they will become part of the mix of opinions. They are the next patches in the quilt.
Over the last six years all of the school themes have urged us to continue to grow and work together. GHS moved forward with an entirely new administrative team in 2009. GHS lived the vision despite staffing and budget cuts in 2010. GHS made the difference when we learned more about our community with Gab Talks in 2011. GHS demonstrated excellence in action with a 6 year term of accreditation in 2012. We showed our originality in Gab Week, band field competition, and the first Art Expo in 2013, and in 2014 our students showed their imagination in national qualifying speeches, an award winning yearbook, and an expanded version of the literary anthology. Each theme is a thread that connects the many patches of the GHS quilt. Each patch has a story to tell and represents what has been accomplished over the last 21 years.
This year’s school theme is to “Think Big”. The theme encourages us to think creatively about student achievement and school programs. It calls upon us to “Think Big” in creating the story of the next patch in the quilt.
This year we have the opportunity to revisit the themes of the last six years. We can use additional resources to “Think Big” about programs that encourage students to be original, imaginative, and open to taking a risk to make a difference. I encourage everyone to think about the patch that you are in the Gabrielino quilt. What theme thread attaches you to GHS? What do you add to the fabric of the school? What does Think Big mean to you? Gabrielino’s teachers, staff, students and parents are exceptional. I can’t wait to see what patches you will all add to GHS’ growing quilt.