PLEASANT HILL – The Newton Local School Board of Education meeting Wednesday was dominated by recognition of acts of kindness that officials say represent the true caring of the district’s students and staff.
Superintendent Pat McBride told of a verbal bullying incident that was thwarted and also of efforts to help a challenged student participate in sports. He said these types of occurrences fall under the “Only at Newton” phrase noting positive attitudes.
McBride said, in part, “At our staff meetings before this school year began, I ask our staff to be ambassadors for our school. I told them to be ambassadors to students by being positive and make them feel like they belong here. Make them feel like this school is their home away from home.”
“I couldn’t ask for a better example of what an ambassador for a school can be than that of the actions taken by two of our seniors, Kaylee Kesler and Anna Miller. It was a random act of kindness done from the true goodness of their heart. Their action was one of many as to why we often say ‘only at Newton.’”
McBride explained that Kesler and Miller recently entered the gymnasium after their soccer game had been cancelled due to lightning. Newton’s volleyball team was playing another school at the time.
After witnessing what they felt was inappropriate behavior of some sixth-grade girls toward another sixth-grade girl they know, they left their seat, went across the court and asked the girl being mistreated to come and sit with them. The superintendent said the girl joined Kesler and Miller.
Unaware of the situation, McBride said the girl’s mother came to him in tears. He expected the worst.
“They were tears of happiness and pride. She was happy for her daughter, who was the beneficiary of Kaylee and Anna’s good deed. She was proud because as she said, ‘People ask me why I drive 40 miles a day to bring my kids to Newton? And I tell them because this school is special and you’ll see good things happen here that you might not at another school.’ The kids are special and because of kids like Kaylee and Anna!”
McBride stated the mother said her daughter’s depression, disappointment, and disillusionment all went away at that moment. “These two girls made her forget the bad and focus on the goodness. They became this girl’s friends at the most critical time.”
McBride and Principal Danielle Davis presented the seniors with certificates recognizing their positive intervention.
Also, seventh-grade student Ethan Via was recognized along with his teacher Catherine Geiger and cross-country coach Aubrey Hughes for efforts made by the trio regarding the team.
McBride said their efforts to help Via overcome physical and emotional challenges in order to participate in cross-country are to be celebrated. A story regarding Via’s accomplishments will appear in a future edition of the Troy Daily News.
In other business, the board appropriated $7,250,754 into all funds for Fiscal Year 2017. Treasurer Nick Hamilton reported the district ended the fiscal year with a total of $3,530,984 in all funds. The General Fund balance was $2,456,256. The district finished the fiscal year in the black at $205,090.
Lane Robbins was chosen as vice president of the board. The hours for employees Amber Evans and Julie Velkoff were increased by one hour per day.
Jim Painter can be reached at [email protected]