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CHANGE IS NEEDED BY ALL

Victor S. Gonzales, Principal

La Luz Elementary School

The year 2009 looks to be an unprecedented time in American history! A very important election has just passed and we, educators, are anxiously waiting to see if our elected officials will actually “walk the walk”. Change was the term used by most, if not all politicians spoken across our country. Our economy, foreign relationships throughout the world, and the war in Iraq were the major topics discussed in debates and campaigns from all parties represented during this election season. Education, unfortunately, appeared to have been of little interest for most Americans as the campaigns progressed along. While the economy and our diplomatic relationships around the world are very important issues that must be addressed, we must not forget how education impacts our future.

Education, for most Americans, is specifically looked at and critiqued based on student performance in reading, mathematics and writing. However, most people seem to forget that public schools are also given the responsibility of teaching and modeling appropriate social behaviors to be practiced in and out of the school setting. There was a period of time when the vast majority of families taught these skills through reinforcing family values and beliefs. Recently, President-elect Barack Obama released a campaign commercial in which he reminded all of us that it is time for parents to get involved with their child’s education. He recommended that parents begin this effort by turning off the television. He’s right! The time spent watching television and playing video games could be spent engaging in conversation, reinforcing positive values which affect children’s academic and social skills.

During the past two years, La Luz Elementary invited special guests from Colorado who presented “life-long” messages for students and staff members. Robert and Terri TallTree are Native Americans who provide interactive school assemblies and professional development for students and educators throughout the country. The programs, entitled

“Walking in Wisdom,” addressed the power of self-images through the creative use of Native American storytelling, ancient songs and legends, sign language and humor. The emphasis being on self-respect and respect for life. Our kids were repeatedly told throughout the programs that they are a “gift to the world”. The gifts given to each and everyone of us include what the TallTrees call “The Three Arrows of Power”.

The first arrow is the thoughts we think. We must use our thoughts wisely. Thoughts can be more powerful than the atomic weapon, if we think about it.

The second arrow is the words we speak. The old cliché, “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” is not true, according to message we learned from the TallTrees. As many of us have experienced in the past or perhaps the present, words are sharp and they can cut like a knife, leaving permanent scars.

The final arrow and most powerful message given to us by the TallTrees are the actions we take. We all must learn to help one another and take care of our precious resources.

Can you imagine if all human beings, including our politicians, followed this simple message shared to us by the TallTrees? What a difference we could make in our world! This should be the “change” we are all looking forward to in the very near future!

For more information regarding the TallTrees, please feel free to visit their website at:

http://www.thetalltrees.com.

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Last week we did a presentation at La Luz Elementary School in New Mexico. Many times we’re impressed with how the teachers relate to the students, or as they would say, “their kids.” But today was different…
for the second time we met this wonderful principal that everyone relates to as “Mr. G.” Now this is no ordinary principal, but one who goes WAY beyond what one would expect as an administrator of a school. His welcoming smile, his kindness, and his gentle nature towards the kids really touched us. Watching how he respectfully acknowledges each student, by name, as if they were the only one in the whole school…and seeing their faces light up each time that he speaks to them is a memory we will forever keep within our hearts. Thank you, Mr. G., for making this world a better place. YOU truly are a GIFT to the world:-)

PS – Love those morning announcements!

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