Superintendent makes time to say ‘thank you’

Published 12:10 am Saturday, August 22, 2015

St. John the Baptist Parish Schools Superintendent Kevin George opened Thursday’s School Board meeting with an extended thank you to the community. The following is an edited version of his remarks.

First I would like to give thanks and kudos to two principals that were most affected, Mr. Stacy Bradford and Mr. Jason Beber. Those two men, I would have asked them to come here tonight, but I told them to please go home tonight and finally go to sleep. Try to get some rest, because they have been up since midnight (Aug. 14) trying to figure out what they could do to get those schools back up and running.

I would also like to thank their staffs for just being diligent and remaining positive and for saying, ‘you know what, this is a blow but we are going to do everything we can to get our kids back into the school.’

We’ve adopted a slogan this year, ‘grinders, not whiners.’ And that means no matter what comes, no matter what happens, that we don’t look for excuses, we don’t cry about it, we just say ‘you know what, that happened, now what can we do to get back on track?’

I would like to thank Peter Montz. I see Peter standing in the back. You know I always kid him that he is the hardest working man in St. John the Baptist Parish. Peter doesn’t stop. He takes everything with a positive attitude. No matter what I put on top of Peter, he takes care of it, he handles it, he makes sure it gets done. He never ever offers an excuse. I want to thank Peter for all the hard work he does with his staff.

I would like to thank the Board members, because we had Board members out there at 1 o’clock in the morning to view the damage. They instructed me, “Mr. George, do whatever it is you need to do. You have our full support to get these schools back up and running as quickly and as efficiently as possible.”

I would like to thank the Board for expediting the emergency declaration so we can efficiently buy and repair the things that we need to, to get our schools back up and running.

I would like to thank Pastor Bernard over there at New Wine for hosting a camp for students from East St. John Elementary School. I would also like to thank John Olynick with the St. John United Way for funding that endeavor. I would like to thank Eliza Eugene at Blessed to be a Blessing for the work she has done providing lunches and breakfasts and just the myriad of different things she has done to help assist us in this time of need.

I would like to thank Marathon Petroleum Corporation for their contributions to East St. John Elementary School to assist us in our recovery efforts. I would like to thank Ms. Melynie Wright from A Storage Inn for collecting and storing school supplies donated by dozens of people from the St. John the Baptist Parish Community.

I would like to thank Our Lady of Grace, Ascension of Our Lord, Riverside Christian Academy and St. Charles Catholic School, all who have reached out to us and offered their support and help with anything they could.

I would like to thank President Natalie Robottom and her staff for assisting with communication and coordination in this time of crisis. I would like to thank Sheriff Tregre and his staff for providing security, labor and support since we first received this call.

I would like to thank the River Region Chamber of Commerce, Cargill, Winn Dixie, Cane’s, McDonald’s, Subway and Sonic for their contributions to this effort.

I would like to thank the West St. John Band Boosters, West Bank Civic Association for their contributions to East St. John Elementary School, as well.

We’ve also had dozens, hundreds (of calls). We could have a two-hour meeting of me just listing individual folks that have donated time and money, but I would like to collectively thank them on behalf of the School Board for everything that they have done in donating to this school system.

From LaPlace to Garyville, from Lucy to Bon Secours, I would just like to say I am so proud to be superintendent of this school system.

I’ve never felt better in a time of such tragedy, but I just want to say thank you, thank you and thank you, once again, thank you.