On behalf of Lake County High School and our seniors I really want to thank our community for their support during a very difficult time.

As we all know life as normal and our school operations took a very abrupt shift right as spring break started in mid-March. Ways of imagining school, that would have been unthinkable a few weeks earlier, emerged as the new normal. We are a school district that rarely takes snow days, we average attendance rates over 90% and most of our staff rarely takes days off with minor sniffles, and here we were looking at not coming back to school for several months.

This was an abrupt change for all of our students and teachers and I am so proud of how our community adapted. I am really simply writing to share some thanks with everyone involved.

First, thanks to the parents who shifted so quickly and supported their students with learning. In a very short amount of time we had almost 100% of our students set up and learning online. We were so grateful for the parents who set up phone calls with our teachers, relearned how to do math and helped students navigate all their assignments. I am also very happy with how our students stepped up. They all started out very strong and then we saw a real dip in performance as kids got tired of learning online. However, the last few weeks we saw an across-the-board recommitment and students worked hard. The truth is, the online environment was not ideal and is not the best way to do education, and we are so grateful for the effort and work kids put in during a really challenging time. We know this was hard on folks personally as people lost jobs, had to do their own work and worried about loved ones, and yet we saw the Panther spirit as kids and families did their best to learn and do schoolwork during this time.

I can’t thank our teachers and staff enough for how they creatively did their best to educate students during this time. There were Zoom lessons, individual phone calls, creative videos and all kinds of efforts to engage kids. Our administrative team went door to door to make sure students had internet and teachers checked on students in their crews every week. Our district office quickly figured out how to get lunches to families and teachers, coaches, subs, paras and other community volunteers helped get the lunches out into the community.

Lastly, it was our seniors who faced the strangest of times. They did not get to have a prom and were looking at a very strange end to the year and a fall clouded by ambiguity and uncertainty. People in our community came together to give us ideas and worked to give them a great closure to their time as students at LCHS. Amy Tait organized yard signs for all of our seniors, Mayor Labbe and Sarah Dallas organized puttingtheir pictures up in town, which gives me happiness every time I am on Harrison. Our police, sherrif, state patrol and fire department supported the motorcade through town and public health helped us plan a one-on-one graduation where students walked across the stage in front of their families.

I love our little town and school and while I know it’s overdue, I wanted to take a moment to say thanks to all these amazing folks who helped during a challenging time.

Ben Cairns

LCHS Principal

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