Writing about homecoming. Announcing the Renaissance students. Getting 11 p.m. emails from Mr. Katte. Gathering pictures from the latest Lincoln PTA events. Receiving emails about the Hang Tough kids. Realizing, in astonishment, that Mrs. Gestwicki was not the principal of Park View.
This was what I did for two years. After the kids went to bed, I sat at my desk, wrote, and posted blogs about our schools on CudahyNow. I wrote about everything from scholarship winners to new recreation department classes to the most recent fundraiser results. I did this on my own time and I loved it.
On these nights as I wrote, I usually had this quiet goal in the back of my thoughts. The goal was to promote a certain kind of self-fulfilling prophesy – like a mirror. By showing the great things about our schools and by bragging about our successes, the students, teachers, and families would, in turn, read about their successes, feel a stronger pride in what they were doing, and become even GREATER.
But could a busy, working mom possibly achieve such a goal? I don't know. It’s been an uphill challenge.
For two years, the school district blog was the focus of so many late, late nights. It was one of the reasons why my house was usually a little (or very) messy. It was why I rarely watched TV. It was also why, if you saw me, you sometimes saw circles under my eyes. When the summer came, the school blog was the reason I crashed face down in our backyard until September.
The blog was too much work for anyone with my lifestyle. And yet, it rarely bothered me. I didn’t want to stop. The blog was my passion. Every time, I announced a scholarship or an award, I became excited. Every time I received an email from Mr. Haeger, I smiled.
But things change. And the uphill challenge continues.
Our economy touches everyone ... including volunteers.
Because of slow newspaper sales, our South Shore area communities lost their only local reporters. Therefore, for several months, other than my blog, Cudahy schools had little voice. They had bigger stories to share but there were no reporters to call. They wanted an outlet - an outlet that consisted of more than my daily blog that praised students and classes.
What could I do? Could I give more? Could my late nights get longer? Could I sleep any less? Would someone help me?
Suddenly, as our school district blogger, I saw myself standing next to a double-edge sword and I didn't know where to go. What I was doing for the district was not enough. But what I was doing, the blog, was - to my frustration - all that I could give. My efforts could not fix this problem and this problem wasn't going away. So with goals not yet attained, I let the blog go - to watch someone else take on a larger paid public relations role for the district. I had to be honest with myself. Without a reporter in Cudahy, our schools needed a lot more than my late nights.
Volunteerism is essential for any community. It is our love for a city, for a school, for a church or organization put into action. Without volunteers, how would we have most of the events in our city? However, at a certain point, all volunteers need to see their own value and limitations - and be able to redirect themselves to a place that better serves themselves and the community.
Where is that place for me - now that I have no more honor rolls to post? I don't know. But I'm sure I will eventually find it.
Until then, I feel both relief and sadness - relief that I can finally clean my house (!) and sadness that after two years and 350 posts, the blog will probably go away - to take shape into a new and hopefully better form. Hopefully, some of the wonderful people in the district will remember me. Hopefully, they will meet my kids and smile and remember who their mom is - and understand that, more than anything, I still believe that our success is like a mirror. The high morale and success of our schools as a whole directly reflects on the high morale and success of our kids as individuals - and vice versa. That is the truth - and my main goal for the blog.
The Pride in Our Schools blog may go away, but its name and its goal will never leave. The uphill challenge continues. But this time – with someone else, someone with more time leading the way.
Clarification - my personal blog - Laptops and Swingsets is not going away. I will still update this one - probably more often now. The blog I was talking about is the Pride in Our Schools blog. I updated that blog ... as well as this one.