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Panther Pause: In the blink of an eye

Each year about this time, I find myself asking, “How is it possible another school year is almost over?” This year I find myself asking an even more amazing question, “How is it possible my time at St. Croix Central is almost over?”

After thirty-three years at SCC, I will be retiring with many fond memories. Organizing special events like Family Reading and Math Nights, Dr. Seuss Night, Grandparent’s Day, Moms and Muffins, Dads and Donuts and watching families enjoy time together to celebrate literacy will always bring back a smile. Inviting in authors like George Shannon, Nancy Carlson, and Gary Paulsen to encourage young SCC writers during Young Author’s Nights will also be something I will remember. Having the opportunity to present at the International Reading Conference in New Orleans was a highlight of my career. But in the end, what I will remember the most, is that I have had an amazing opportunity to help develop and implement learning experiences that engage and motivate students.

I have grown personally and professionally with parents, students and colleagues at SCC and can only hope I have helped others grow as well. I have always believed that it does indeed take a whole village to raise a child. I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone in our communities. The pride and support you show for our school district says a lot about the value you place on education and our children’s future. Thanks also to parents and families for sending so many curious, resourceful, and bright young people to work with year after year. It has been a privilege to be entrusted with your children. There is nothing more exciting to an educator than watching a student grow academically and personally, preparing to reach his or her unlimited potential and possibilities. But self-determination and respect for others starts at home -- you begin the foundation for your child’s future success, and your care and dedication in teaching these values shine brightly through our students. Success is not about one person but about the collective effort of ALL.

It has been an honor to work with so many talented and energetic colleagues throughout my time at SCC. We have learned together, laughed together and supported each other. We have challenged each other to be our best and strived to be role models for each child that entered our doors. The students at SCC are fortunate to have such a caring group of teachers, support staff, and administrators guiding them. In the “blink of an eye,” it is now time to say goodbye. As I walk out the door on my last day I will leave with a sense of pride for what has been accomplished and a sense of great hope and excitement for what’s yet to come. I wish the students, staff, parents and communities all my best for continued success.

Shirley Arneson is Director of Teaching and Learning for the St. Croix Central School Distirct