The Maasai people have earned a reputation for having the most brave and intelligent warriors of any tribe in Kenya. It may be surprising then to learn that the traditional greeting passed between these fierce Maasai warriors, Kasserian Ingera, means, “And how are the children?” The Maasai culture places a high value on the well-being of its children. Even warriors with no children respond with the traditional answer, “All the children are well.” The Maasai people have not forgotten their main priority. Despite the burdens and struggles of their everyday life, the Maasai tribe ensures that the safety and proper caring of their children is their focus.

The passage of the district referendum by residents of the Tomah Area School District demonstrates a similar understanding by many people in our community that our focus must be on the safety and proper caring of our children. An investment in public education is about the future well-being of our children and our community. Many voters who no longer have children in school understand that living together in a community creates a covenant with each other and our children. Education was supported by others who didn’t have children in school when they or their children attended school. We must each continue to support the children of our community by making the needed investment to provide for their safety and well-being.

So, how are the children? Let me share a very special story about some of the students in our district.

Mrs. Katie Spiers returned this spring as the varsity girls’ soccer coach. On a recent trip to Reedsburg for their second competition and first away soccer match, one of the team players in the back stated they had an announcement and asked everyone to put their windows up. For the next 25 minutes, each of the girls took time to read a thank you note and provide “shout-outs” to the coaching staff. Mrs. Spiers and the other coaches couldn’t believe what had just happened. She shared, “What an amazing team. These young ladies had not only adjusted to a new coaching staff, but to very high expectations. They had two weeks of two-a-day practices, they endured a two-mile run twice, as well as working to be their best at every practice. The players did this with positive attitudes and support for one another. To take the time to thank us as coaches shows their strong character.”

As the bus pulled up to Reedsburg High School, the bus driver asked to speak to the girls before they got off the bus. With tears in her eyes, she told our students: “I have been driving bus for over 20 years, and I have never witnessed anything like this. You are an amazing group!”

Mrs. Spiers commented, “If we measure our future by our youth today, our future is bright! Although our team has yet to win a game, these young women are demonstrating a huge victory in the ‘game of life’.”

And how are the children? Many of them are well, as evidenced by the young women who are members of the Lady Timberwolf soccer team. Your support of the district referendum will help us to better meet the needs of all children. We want to be able to answer the question of “And how are the children?” with “All the children are well.” Thank you for supporting the additional investment in our schools and making our children a priority!

If you have any questions or comments about the information and opinions expressed in this edition of The School Bell, please contact Cindy Zahrte, district administrator, at cindyzahrte@tomah.education or 608-374-7002.

Cindy Zahrte is the superintendent of the Tomah Area School District.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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