By DON WOLCZKO
As the wet, short days of winter morph into the wet but noticeably longer days of spring, and the Flickers rat-atat on my metal roof, I am frequently reminded of why we are so fortunate to live in the Northwest, and more specifically on Vashon Island. I also want to remind you that spring happens to be the time of year that the Vashon Schools Foundation reaches out to our community to ask for commitment in funding excellence at our schools.
Having been born in Detroit and having spent all my school years in one of its suburbs — due to my parents’ desire to give us kids a superior education — I am very aware of the consequences of being satisfied with mediocrity. The city of Detroit, once a progressive, thriving, confident city has, through its reluctance to continue to change and challenge itself, fallen into a pitiful state of disrepair. The world grew and changed, and it continued treading water, only to fall further and further behind.
When I moved out west, I was struck not only by the natural beauty that drew me here, but by the vibrant, dynamic, optimistic nature of its people, many like myself having been recently transplanted.
Now having lived on Vashon for a few decades and having raised three children here, I am thankful for the quality education and foundation of lifelong learning that they received in the Vashon school system. In return, I feel it is beholden upon me to be a part of the continued support system for our schools.
My involvement with the Vashon Schools Foundation started four years ago with the revelation that the then current level of staffing and programming would be significantly cut — in spite of great local tax support — due to poor decision-making in Olympia. The foundation was formed as a means to bridge that gap, and you all – the citizens and business people of this island — rallied to our support so we could shore up a financially shaky system.
Though the district is on significantly better ground now, the need to continually grow, to change with the times, to be open to new technologies and ways of doing things, will always be a part of what we must embrace, in order that we don’t fall into mediocrity.
Vashon Island is such a great community because it doesn’t tolerate mediocrity, constantly striving to express its richness of talent through a vast breadth of endeavors. It is only natural that the school district, one of the basic pillars of life on the island, be afforded the tools that it needs to continue its vision of graduating young adults that will have the enhanced, enriched educational experiences that will allow them to be great contributors to the world community.
Please take time to appreciate what we have here on this island, thank a teacher, and lend your financial support, that we continue to educate well-rounded world citizens that are proud to have been educated on Vashon Island.
— Don Wolczko is a local veterinarian and the president of the Vashon Schools Foundation board.