In November, we honor veterans on Veterans Day. Many of you who love history would know that we commemorate the ending of World War I that happened on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The day has had a special meaning for my family because I have two sons who are currently serving in the Army. Our boys are obviously not considered veterans because they are actively serving, but one day they will become veterans. Many of you might also know that a number of our staff members are veterans: Mr. Larry Cook our Campus Safety is a Navy veteran, Mr. Joe Garcia, another Campus Safety, and Mr. Eric Flores, a teacher, are both Marine veterans, and Coach Danny Sifontes served in the armed forces as well.
I bring that up because I have been thinking a lot about the idea of public service lately. Merriam-Webster defines public service as (1) the business of supplying a commodity (such as electricity or gas) or service (such as transportation) to any or all members of a community, (2) a service rendered in the public interest, and (3) governmental employment. Oxford Dictionary defines public service as (1) a service such as education or transport that a government or an official organization provides for people in general in a particular society, (2) something that is done to help people rather than to make a profit, and (3) the government and government departments. I personally like to think of public service as a government service provided for the public interest to help people. And there is no higher sacrifice than committing to give up one’s life for the protection of others in the name of democracy.
Last month, I asked all of us to put kindness as our top priority. I am excited to report that I have seen a group of students who are working to spread kindness to one another. This month, I would like to call on you to express your gratitude and appreciation to these amazing staff members who have served this country. While you are at it, I would encourage you to express your gratitude towards our campus safety, custodians, gardeners, support staff, paraeducators, food service workers, teachers, and coaches who answered the call to public service. For example, since COVID began, my assistant Ms. Rubio has spent countless additional hours beyond her work hours keeping the front office working smoothly because of all the additional work that has been assigned to her. She has provided guidance and support for me with her wisdom and experience as I worked to navigate the new reality as a #PandemicPrincipal. She is one of those unassuming public servants who would be missed because of her quiet and steady contribution. I am so fortunate to have her and so many other amazing support staff members who keep our students safe, fed, and educated. They are the backbone of our amazing school community, and none of us will be able to come to school without all these folks. From our front desk person to the library assistant, from our interpreters to the intervention supervisor, from our pool manager to the athletic trainer, the San Marcos community is blessed to have so many incredibly dedicated folks who show up and do their jobs to the best of their abilities. And I know that your expression of gratitude, no matter how small and insignificant you might think, means the world to these rather invisible heroes on our campus. And as for Larry Cook, Eric Flores, Coach Sifontes, and Joe Garcia, though I thank them for their service to this country as well as our amazing school, I still tell them #GoArmyBeatNavy every time I see them.