Our twin boys Jason and Jonah are less than three months from wrapping up a K-12 career in the Prescott Unified School District (PUSD). This is full circle for me, as a Prescott High School (PHS) alumni, and certainly as an educator. It is a milestone in my career, having experienced the district as a father. This has no doubt given me insights along the way for things we can improve. We are always reflecting in that way. But much more, I find myself swelling with pride as a dad and a superintendent. The gifts that PUSD has given to my two seniors are priceless. I am so grateful to the teachers, staff, and administrators that have made such a difference, not only for my boys, but for “Every Child, Every Day.”
Beyond the work that PUSD does to send kids off from high school with gifts of skills, knowledge, and the ability to find their way socially, our Prescott Community provides a perfect empty canvas, or background, where our children can safely explore. I have said time and time again, including in this column: PUSD could not do what we do without the unbelievable support of our Prescott Community.
Although I have been a bit sensitive to all of this throughout my sons’ senior year, my emotions were sparked this week when the first “offer” for a significant scholarship came to one of the boys. I lay awake one early morning after hearing this, somewhat in disbelief. I was thinking what a gift this is to my son—a gift from the work that my colleagues in PUSD created for my son. Both of our boys found their way into music here in PUSD.
It was not necessarily the path that we had imagined for them. That is the beauty of a comprehensive school district: we create hundreds of pathways for children to choose from. Around my boys’ freshman year, when their band teacher brought us into a meeting to talk about careers, both boys strongly said they wanted to be musicians. It was a significant moment in life for us. While not the path I took, I saw the happiness it gave them, and the potential for them to share that with others for a lifetime. This is the gift that PUSD gave to my kids and we are so grateful.
I have been thinking a lot about our role in the school district to send our graduates away with gifts. Our gift is to send our kids out of high school with tools to get them to their next step. For my boys, the gift is a deep and strong understanding and skill of music that is helping to pay for their next steps in training. For many of their colleagues, this equates to SAT scores that will garner scholarships. For our students in the Joint Technological Educational District (JTED,) it is an industry certificate and skills that will walk them directly into well-paying jobs. For some students, a strong step into a branch of the military. Some walk in with 4 years of JROTC experience. For many, it is a smooth step into Yavapai College after already forming a relationship with the college through many classes and opportunities during high school.
Join me in watching all of our PHS seniors in this next few months as they head into exciting adventures all over the world, loaded up with gifts from their hometown of Prescott, Arizona.