To the editor:
I would like to thank the good people of Williston for allowing me to be a part of your children’s life for the past 40 years. It has been my pleasure and honor to teach and be an administrator in the Levy County School System. It has gone by so quickly. It is hard to believe that in 1969, I came to Williston Middle School as an intern to begin my career and have been able to remain in the county for my entire career. I have been fortunate enough to teach a few who are now grandparents to students in the middle school as well as many parents of current students.
As a first generation American born to German immigrants, my parents stressed the value of a good education in order to get ahead. They made sure that each of us had the opportunity to get the best education possible. It would have been easier for my parents and grandparents sitting around the dinner table to speak German; however, my father insisted that English be spoken. When asked why, he said, “This is now our country and our children must learn English to be ready for school.” Of course, we were ready when we enrolled in school because we could speak English. My parents believed that education would open doors for us and made every effort to be a part of our education. They did not believe that education was only a function of the school. As a farm family, they believed in hard work. However, they provided the time for us and them to be involved in the school and its activities.
When our children were in school we participated with them in as many activities as they were able to be a part of and encouraged them to do their best. Our son, who struggled academically, chose a career in the Air Force and is continuing his education there. Our daughter has recently graduated from UF and is in the process of entering the Army. They both believe strongly in service to this country to help keep us free.
As I leave Williston Middle School and the education field, I still believe that a good education is the key to opening doors for all students. I believe that education should not be left to the school alone. Education should be an effort by all; the parent, the student, and the school. As parents, we all want the best for our children. It takes hard work and time on our part to make sure they have the opportunities and take full advantage of those opportunities.
If our country is to remain strong it will be because of hardworking, well-educated people. We must instill that in our children. We must work hard to convince our political leaders that education has to be a high priority. If the vast majority of our population receives a poor education they will not be able to obtain good jobs and our government will have to support them. As more and more people are given assistance, who will be left to pay for their support? A good education will lead to good jobs; don’t allow our leaders to diminish its value.
I leave Williston Middle School with the assurance that there is a great staff that places your children first. The academics, athletics and other activities are second to none as evidenced by the accomplishments the school has made. The staff believes that in order for students to become successful they need a well rounded comprehensive educational opportunity. It is the people who make the school, and WMS has the people to make continuous improvement in all areas. My job as principal was easy because I had such a great group of people who put children first. Please support Mrs. Asbell, my successor, the staff and the school for your children.
As I will soon leave this great profession, I can think of only one other job that is more important than teaching and that is to be a parent. It is not an easy job, doesn’t come with a “how to” manual, but is most rewarding when you see your children grow and become contributing members of society. I am humbled by all of the support I have had over the four decades I have been in education and now look forward to my years of retirement. I can think of no better place in which to live and be a part than this great community and county.
Ernst L. Kordgien