Columnist retires, bids friends goodbye

Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 2:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 2:12 p.m.

"There are good ships, there are wood ships, and there are ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships for they shall ever be."

— An Irish Proverb

For the past eight years, I have written a column in the Guardian to inform parents and students about educational issues and opportunities.

As an amateur journalist, I have found this experience to be very rewarding and exciting. I have learned so much from researching information to help families make better decisions as it pertained to education. Through these experiences, a fruitful friendship emerged between me the writer and you the reader.

For my readers, I hope the relationship we have shared was one that you learned from and grew from. I certainly did. Through it all, as I wrote and gained your trust, a bond was established in friendship, and as a result of our friendship, my skills improved. I must thank you for reading my articles and for providing feedback, where you shared your inner-most thoughts.

This is the last article I will write for the Guardian because I am retiring after 43 years of service from Alachua County Public Schools. As I look back on these years, they have been the most gratifying years of my life. Education has been my passion and my life. It has been my desire to see children excel and to direct parents to help their children be successful. I hope in the past 43 years I have made a positive impact on families and children.

It is with sadness and joy that I leave an institution that I so dearly love. Perhaps the seeds that I planted in all these past 43 years have prepared me for a different path. We shall see what God has in store for me. If the journey ahead is going to be as exciting as the journey I have had, then I welcome the challenge with open arms.

As I close one chapter in my career, a new chapter will begin as I pursue a career dream, which is to become a member of the Alachua County School Board. If successful, I will continue to advocate for families and children. It is absolutely imperative that we have a voice of reason to represent our concerns as they pertain to preparing our children for the future.

As I think about the 125 articles I have written for the Guardian, my overall message was to share good information to families and to keep pounding the idea that a good education is better than anything we can tangibly own. This equates to being involved in our children's education to the very end. There has got to be parental support and encouragement throughout their lives.

In many of my articles, I included some of my own life experiences, lots of research on improving a child's performance in the classroom, nutritional concerns, an emphasis on reading, graduation requirements, preparation for early childhood education, summer activities, career paths and a host of other topics.

As a columnist and resource person for primarily the eastside community, to write about these topics has given me much pleasure beyond measure.

How does one say farewell with esprit de corps, especially, after a stellar career? I would like to leave with my readers a mission to pass the torch to others to help our children in any capacity in the field of education and to encourage our youth to work hard because this is the path to a brighter future.

The knowledge and wisdom that parents have should be a beacon for our youth to follow to improve the quality of their lives. This knowledge must be shared from generation to generation. If we don't share this information, then there could be dire consequences for our rising generations.

There are no limits to what our children can achieve. The opportunities are here for the pickings and we must encourage our children to take advantage of them. Every effort must be made for our children to succeed. We must continue to promote education as though our lives depended on it. Parents, we are the guiding light for this to happen.

It is with the deepest appreciation that I say thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts. I also thank you for your listening ears and ask that you remember the best of ships, which are friendships.

Good luck, friends.

Philoron A. Wright Sr. retired Monday as assistant to the superintendent of community and schools for Alachua County Public Schools.

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