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State of Schools Address Brings Attitude of Gratitude and Hope | Community Spirit

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State of Schools Address Brings Attitude of Gratitude and Hope
State of Schools Address Brings Attitude of Gratitude and Hope

By Rachel Melville

The atmosphere for the State of Schools address was one filled with hope, acknowledgement and gratitude as Board of Education (BOE) President Senita Laneer called attendees to their seats. All were treated to a performance of “Colors” and the Pledge of Allegiance by the Ottawa Hills High School JROTC. President Laneer then took time to acknowledge members of the BOE, elected official clergy, parents, students, faculty (past and present), tax payers and members of the community to stand and be given a warm round of applause saying, “ You are all very important to GRPS. You all should be applauded.”
 
Such was the tone for the rest of the State of Schools address. At her request, representatives of the Employee Group Leaders joined her on stage and took a few moments to be acknowledged and give their remarks on the effects that Neal's leadership has already sparked. There were frequently used words and phrases to describe the new administration, such as “hope," “pride” and “becoming a family."  A particularly promising moment came when Paul Helder, president of the Grand Rapids Education Association, poignantly noted, “This room is far from full -- but it is, because everybody knows where we are going. That is a phenomenal change.”
 
President Laneer graced the podium for a final time to present the main speaker, Superintendent Teresa Weatherall-Neal. “She hit the ground running...

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