Wednesday, May 16, 2018
My siblings and I graduated from Lakeside. After graduation, I joined the U.S. Air Force in 1992 and stayed on active duty until my retirement. My wife, Jen, is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. We know the value of a great education as is evident with our two daughters (Amber and Ashley). They are both college graduates. Now our focus is on our son Andre. His special needs with ADHD would limit his education opportunities had we stayed in Florida.
In Florida, Andre was used to a system that avoided anything hard. The unwritten motto was, "If something is hard, skip it." Andre was never encouraged or pushed to take on difficulty. Lakeside does not allow children to simply take the easy road. In Florida, Andre was surrounded by peers with similar social limitations and the students often took their frustrations out on students and faculty. Lakeside groups all of their students together. Typical peers and special needs children are all part of the same student population. It is this sense of community that fosters understanding of our unique differences. Lakeside has shown our son that he is loved for being who he is. Andre's peers are in love with his quirks and sense of self. In the past, Andre was chastised by peers, continually bullied for who he is. One of my favorite things to hear from Andre: "Daddy, Lakeside does not have any bullies!"
I have watched Lakeside grow in wonderful ways. Lakeside programs are a beacon to other families wanting to give their children the best educational opportunities. It is from this shining example that has Lakeside asking for the support to handle the growth that is coming to our school district. This posturing for the future student population increases shows responsibility to the students and our community. Passing this millage will further encourage program growth and continue to provide a safe environment for all that attend.
This millage will have an impact beyond the students attending Lakeside. Jobs will be created. Construction jobs will be produced to meet the building needs. Then the long-term jobs will need be filled. Positions ranging from custodial professionals to principals will have a positive impact on this community, well beyond the structures being built. The millage means long-standing jobs, creating positive economic impact for Hot Springs.
Every child in school is our customer. Their opportunity for success in life is built on the shoulders of the previous generations hefting them up. The millage increase will assure greater success for all that attend Lakeside, now and in the future. My son came here based on the opportunities we thought he would be afforded. We were right!
We are Lakeside! We bleed Rams! My family has dedicated their personal and professional lives to Lakeside and Hot Springs. We will continue to support this school, its administrators, faculty and above all else, the kids first!
Editorial on 05/16/2018
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