We have a great school.
An awesome school.
We have a small one-room schoolhouse, two full- time teachers, and 14 students spread through grades K-8.
But our island population is very small, and our tax base is ...bleak.
Our budget is small. There is no room for extras.
And this may not be a horrible thing.
Here is why:
This community has always been small, always had a meager budget. Historically, the budget covers what Has To Be Covered, and we try to come up with the extras. We have been fortunate in this endeavor, in finding grants to have music instructors visit the island for a week of intense music study, for art teachers to spend an overnight trip once a month to provide art instruction, to the many, many volunteers who understand that not only is the cost of these services prohibitive for us, transportation and lodging are obstacles for half of the school year.
Most of our People Who Provide Extras do so out of the goodness of their hearts. They understand our plight, they've been to our island, they've met our children. They are not well compensated for their services; in fact, they are barely compensated. Their travel expenses alone tally more than their salaries.
We appreciate Our People more than words can say.
And I am proud to say that our school kids Get This. They understand that Our People take time away from their regular jobs, leave their families and travel to Frenchboro for them,
to add this one thing to their lives, to share their special talent, out of the goodness of their hearts.
Our kids get this.
Our kids know that they, in turn, are expected to do the same.
This is a huge point!
Anybody can be appreciative of things they are given, but the other half of the equation is to become a giver yourself.
We can only hope it stays with them. I see far too many adults who do not follow through the Pay It Forward practice.
To that end, our kids have come up with a List Of Things They'd Like To Have.
These are not things that are mandatory for their survival. They are extras. Things that perhaps they or their parents , or the school's budget, or the Town's budget are not in a position to provide. These are things the kids would like to have, but don't expect somebody else to hand to them.
These are Things They'd Like To Give Each Other.
Two of these things are:
1. a bike rack at school (every kid rides a bike to school, weather permitting)
2. hockey equipment (they play all winter, on street and ice, weather-be-damned. Even the girls.)
Today our kids are hosting the First Ever Frenchboro Fun Fair.
There will be arcade type games. There will be a bake sale. There will be auctions.
And this will be run solely by the kids.
They have baked the items for sale. They have thought up and organized the games. They have come up with the auction items. (One of the items, I heard, is a winter's worth of driveway-shoveling! I can't wait to see what else they've come up with!)
All of the proceeds will be put towards the purchase of a bike rack.
The Fun starts at 4pm. I'll let you know how it goes.
But right now, I am on Cloud 9, content in the knowledge that our kids Get It.