We kicked off another school year in Bluehawk style when faculty and staff congregated at our new track/athletic field for Opening Day last week. There were a few clouds in the sky but the atmosphere was brightened by the participation of students and the sounds of Bluehawk cheers.
I am happy to report that the first phase of our two-phase capital improvement project was completed on schedule. We are forever thankful for the landslide support of the Capital Project by taxpayers, the generosity of the Galvan Foundation to make this athletic facility Patroon Conference worthy, and HRBT for their additional support. Besides the state-of-the-art athletic facility, we have newly renovated classrooms at M.C. Smith Intermediate School to support the learning environment of our second and third grade students as well as a beautifully renovated high school gymnasium. Also, an additional driveway on the north side of the high school campus, intended to improve traffic flow and safety, is nearing completion.
This is a momentous time for us in Hudson. When I allow myself to sit back and contemplate how much we have accomplished together with our community of supporters, I am filled with appreciation and awe. The overwhelming approval of the Capital Project and 2017-18 budget gave us a clear and resounding message that we have people who believe in us, who want to help us give our students the very best experience, and who want to provide every Bluehawk with the opportunity to soar into a successful future.
Just as the Capital Project is reinvigorating our campus, we too must reinvent ourselves and take the opportunity to refine what it truly means to be a Hudson Bluehawk. It sounds simple enough, but what does it really mean to be HUDSON? We can answer that question with the aid of an acrostic poem.
We Are H – Heroic, U – United, D – Diverse, S – Scholarly, O – Optimistic and N – Nurturing. Together, we are HUDSON!
The work we do as educators each school year is nothing short of Heroic. Most importantly, we do it together as a team. It’s the only way to victory. Over the past few years, much like our sports teams and individual athletes have done on the courts, fields and track, we have been improving our skills in the classroom and getting better as a team of educators. When faced with the challenges of a small city school district – poverty, homelessness, youth with incarcerated parents, language barriers, social-emotional gaps, and vastly diverse backgrounds – we work with our community to courageously overcome obstacles and build bridges.
Despite our unique challenges and differences, we are United together for a common purpose. We think and behave as a PK-12 system and huddle up as team to ensure that our game plan provides children with the right foundation to succeed in school and in life. From Day 1, we empower students with the knowledge and skills that get them ready for college, career and life.
Together with our community, we find ways to provide a variety of opportunities to our students that enrich their educations. We are one district with one mission to improve and advance the educational and emotional outcomes of our students.
We see the Diversity of our school as our greatest strength. Like all school districts, there is a written curriculum to guide the content of our academic programs, but at Hudson there is also an unwritten curriculum that teaches our students how to co-exist and accept people from a wide variety of backgrounds and world cultures.
We have at least half a dozen different languages spoken, and just as many religions practiced, in our district. Our students are white, black, brown, of mixed race, sexual orientations and gender identities. We have a range of students with special talents and others with special needs. From the Robotics Club to the Kindness Club, we encourage everyone to embrace all students as valuable members of our Bluehawk community.
We are like no other school district in this region. We look and sound like a typical city street as students pass and greet each other in our hallways. We are a microcosm of the world population and we are proud of it. Like no other school district in our region, Hudson prepares students for an increasingly diverse workforce, teaches them to function tolerantly and enthusiastically in a global society, to lead, to follow and to communicate with a wide variety of people.
Hudson educators are devoted to Scholarship and each student’s individual pursuit of knowledge and skills. The curriculum taught along with a variety of clubs and programs work together toward the common goal of graduating students ready for life. We are anchored by three primary developmental pillars: Academics, Arts and Athletics. These areas of focus support and reinforce each other through a variety of programs, systems and activities. Their relationships fortify our efforts to promote the social-emotional development of our students so each can achieve success across essential aspects of a well-rounded educational program.
The school and local communities have reason to be Optimistic and confident in the future of our students and the future of our district. We certainly have seen our share of difficult times in Hudson, from academic results to financial stress, though we have been fortunate to enjoy some good times as well. Our scores are on a steady rise and we are able to budget wisely to provide the educational experiences our students deserve.
We can and should feel proud of that achievement; but like any winning team, we must continue to focus on improving our game. To quote Mia Hamm, arguably one of the greatest soccer players of all time, “Celebrate what you’ve accomplished but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.”
Students get only one chance to journey through our school system. We remain Optimistic that we are on the right path to reaching our Vision 2020 goals and, more importantly, serving our students well.
Lastly, Hudson is Nurturing. We care deeply for our students and we strongly encourage their growth, both within and outside of school. For many of our students, we are simply an extension of their family that works in concert with parents to further enrich childhood learning experiences. Our mission is to provide well-rounded academic and social experiences from the formative years to the high school years, giving each student unique opportunities to discover their specific talents and skills. We’re resolved to work with our community to do everything we can to advance the intellectual, social and emotional development of the students entrusted to our care so that they’re prepared for college, career and life.
I suppose it could be said that some school districts are Heroic, others no doubt United. Diversity is hardly unique to Hudson, and many districts have every reason to be Optimistic and Nurturing. At Hudson, we use every one of these characteristics in our efforts to ensure our students’ dreams can be realized.
We hope you’ll share our Bluehawk Pride and join us for a Grand Opening Celebration of our new field on Thursday, September 28 at 6:30 p.m. behind Hudson Jr./Sr. High School. Mark your calendars and spread the word – you won’t want to miss this evening of fun festivities, free food and fantastic fireworks!
A shortened version of this column was published in the Register-Star on September 11, 2017.