Doing what matters

Published 9:39 am Monday, April 23, 2018

By Dr. Rickie Harris

In each of my editorial columns, I share information about what is happening inside of West Orange – Cove schools. This information has included goals, honors, activities, and opportunities for parent and community involvement. Today I want to share information about actions and activities that are taking place outside of the classrooms. I want to share details regarding the amazing compassion and citizenship of Mustangs in doing what matters.

Last weekend our High School journalism students were competing at a regional academic meet in another city. In between competitions, the students lunched at a busy restaurant. They recognized that the waitress was the only wait staff on duty and was doing her best to manage the needs of all customers. They also witnessed a group of customers walk out before paying their bill, resulting in the waitress becoming very distressed. Our students took it upon themselves to reach out to the waitress and share encouraging words. Then, they made a decision to take action. To help, our students combined their money and paid the other table’s $100 bill. This response, alone, was extremely kind; but, our Mustangs weren’t finished. They added a $100+ tip. These West Orange – Stark High School students made the decision to step forward; and furthermore, execute an action to make a positive impact. We are very proud of their compassion and willingness to make a difference.

At West Orange – Stark Middle School, a “Teens Making a Difference” student organization launched in January of this school year. The organization’s mission statement is “We will never influence the world by being just like it. We must set ourselves apart by rising above, giving generously, serving our communities, and loving unconditionally.” In just a few short months, this group of students has created opportunities to show appreciation to school staff and local first responders. They have identified needs and provided haircuts, supported student special events, and shared encouragement to teachers, and found ways to bring smiles to other individuals in need of a bit of positivity.

Their efforts have included simple approaches: get well and thinking of you baskets, personal cards, letters, artwork, surprise special deliveries, and most importantly, time. This group is definitely making a difference.

Our job, as a school system, is to educate the youth of our community. We also work to deliver more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. We strive to develop good citizens. We so routinely share information about test scores, school finance, competition and events, that we can sometimes overlook celebrating our young people doing what matters. We have so many, not just those mentioned in this column, who have already taken steps towards their amazing potential. They collect items for those in need, help families recovering from Harvey, participate in community clean-ups, and more. We enjoy watching our students blossom. We applaud them and all those who are partners in their success.

We believe in John Maxwell’s philosophy that “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.” Go Mustangs!


Dr. Rickie R. Harris is the Superintendent at West Orange – Cove CISD