I was actually following a completely different idea when I came upon this letter to the editor this morning. That can wait. This is important.
Over here in Oakland Mills we continue to struggle with skewed outside perceptions of who we are and wildly inaccurate descriptions of our community. Getting the good stories out there is like pulling teeth. Daily we elevate the good, while acounts in the news and on social media linger on racist dog whistles or a hyperfocus on income and test scores.
Sometimes it feels as though we are like those Whos on that tiny dust speck, ever gathering to get out the message: we are here, we are here.
This letter from Talbott Springs Elementary School Principal Nancy Thompson should pop through the atmosphere on that front, as far as I am concerned. She, more than most, is intimately acquainted with the needs, challenges, gifts, and dreams of our students and families. Ms. Thompson takes the time here to shed a light on every effort, gift, initiative and project that have sprung into action as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reading it reminds me of the quote from the Rev’d Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.
Here is here letter in full. Take the time to read the entire thing, because everything and everyone mentioned here is a gift for which to be grateful.
Thanks to the Talbott Springs community
With hope, each day is a great day to celebrate kindness. In the spirit of inspiration and empathy, this unusual year has featured the nurture and growth of selfless acts of kindness and outreach across Howard County.
Since March, the COVID-19 experience has cast a spotlight that amplifies existing inequities in some of our nation’s social structures, including access to education, nutrition and essential services. In the spring, there was a whirlwind of activity to assure that basic needs for Howard County families were met as unemployment and the need to stay at home became a reality. Nine months later, as concerns for children and families remain, I am expressing my gratitude for the enduring and unprecedented support that has been provided at the most unexpected moments to the Talbott Springs Elementary School community.
With no promise of fanfare, individuals and groups have quietly stepped in to ask what is needed and to assure that our children have a learning space at home, materials to be able to engage in virtual learning, food on the table and access to needed essential services. Thank you to the Rev. Robert Turner and the St. John Baptist Church congregation for finding unique ways to provide learning supplies and holiday gifts. Thank you to Grace Community Church, Ellicott City Soccer, Talbott Springs staff and the Romack family for a fulfilling and incredibly successful desk build!
Thank you the Kindness Pantry, the Jakkobsen family, Bridgeway Church and the Oakland Mills Village for providing support for school supplies. Thank you to Talbott Springs staff, the Charlotte Savoy Group, Blessings in a Backpack, the Talbott Springs PTA and families, Columbia Community Care, the Howard County Public School System and the Howard County government for assuring that our children and families have food and services each day including weekends and holidays.
Thank you to the many Talbott Springs staff and community members who have offered to assist with assuring this winter holiday season will be one of joy for children. Thank you to the students and families who have shared moments of gratitude for our school staff. You bring joy to our work! Because of the outpouring of support for Talbott Springs Elementary School families, I maintain hope for positive energy and healing in the months ahead!
*MLK quote in full: If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That's a new definition of greatness. By giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.