JEREMY OLSON COLUMN: I'm grateful to live in a community that values its people
The very best community and school connections that I have experienced are hard to explain but easy to feel.
One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is attending school functions and supporting our students as they engage in competition and performance.
There is nothing quite like the smell of popcorn, the glare of field lights, the squeak of the basketball court, the hot chocolate to keep you warm at a hockey game, or the thrill of an outstanding performance at a concert. With this attendance comes observations on school spirit and the importance of school and community connection.
The very best community and school connections that I have experienced are hard to explain but easy to feel. There is a sense of unity, support, joy and togetherness that is so pervasive that it seems to ripple throughout the facility and reverberate in the community. Connectivity between the school and community is a powerful force that is truly something that you know when you see it.
During my time in Bemidji, there have been two distinct times when I have witnessed this type of community and school togetherness. The first was at the Special Olympics Unified Basketball Game recently held at Bemidji High School and the second was seeing the community and school outpouring of support for our very own Big E prior to a basketball game.
The Special Olympics Unified Basketball Game was an outstanding showcase for the power of unity. I went to this game wanting to be supportive of this activity and I left with feelings of unity and pride in a community that supports all of its kids.
There was energy and enthusiasm in the stands as community members from all walks of life came out in force to support an activity that truly centered around the word “unified.”
Big E was one of the first people in the district to greet me as I wandered the halls of the high school this summer, so it was not at all surprising that the community would rally around such an outgoing and wonderful individual. It was remarkable to see the sheer size of the crowd and the response from the community of support and love for this wonderful man.
So many people showed their support for Big E from the fans in the stands, the team huddled around Big E, to the lines of individual community members wanting to shake hands with him.
Both of these events evoked feelings of deep pride to be a part of a community that cares so much as well as a sense of joy in showing our support both for Big E and our unified players.
This is what community and school connections could and should look like. What would our school and community look like if we were always this united?
You need not look any further than these two events to find what unifies us, what our community values are, and what we are proud of here in Bemidji. I am extremely grateful to live in a community that values its people and to call Bemidji home!
Jeremy Olson is the superintendent of Bemidji Area Schools. He can be reached at (218) 407-9645 or email@example.com.