Thursday, December 22, 2016

Terese Jurgensen ~ Director of Student Services ~ December 23rd

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
I had the pleasure of attending the Third Grade Christmas Concert last night led by our very own choir director, Schuyler Bieber. It was wonderful! Filled with the joyous, traditional carols filling the auditorium with the hope of Christmas. I went home singing Christmas carols and was reminded of my own personal favorite, "Away in a Manger," that my kids and I would sing together when they were little. 

There are many stories and beliefs about where Christmas originated, and one only has to hit a Google search to find countless stories on this subject. It is interesting (maybe even a bit strange) to think of this wonderful, present-laden, Santa Claus sleighing and carol singing time of the year originated with a manger scene that more than likely housed all kinds of farm animals. One thing we know a lot about in Iowa is farms. As I reflect on this happy, wonderful time of year, I often pause and remember it all started in a manger where animals lived, and we all know that animals can be dirty. The manger itself refers to a trough where animals would eat out of. Seems like a strange place to start a holiday. 

This morning, as I was thinking about this, I began to reflect on the people I work alongside here at Howard-Winneshiek CSD and know that a manger (although it doesn't always smell the best) was the perfect place for the first Christmas. Christmas is not always the best time of year for many people. For some it is fraught with stress, pain and perhaps longing for gifts or love that will not be received. Like the manger scene, it can be dirty and not pleasant.

I spoke with several teachers yesterday and listened to them pour out their hearts of love and in some cases, concern for their students. One comment truly touched my heart, "For some of our kids, school is the best part of their day. My goal is not only to teach, but to empower my students to love and believe they can have an extraordinary life!" These powerful words, like the light pouring into the manger scene, erase the thought of the unpleasantness that can accompany a barn and instead focus on the love, joy and peace pouring into the holiday manger scene. 

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Christy Sobolik ~ Amazing Associate ~ working with & caring for kids!



Jean Daywitt, Middle School Special Education Teacher, spends weeks and weeks
knitting scarves for her students! WOW!!!

Jill McConnell & her students ~ Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday!

High School students in Spanish class making Pinata's for the holiday!
Feliz Navidad!
A Family Affair!
Kaylee Tuchek, Krista Tuchek & Grandma Grace host a Norwegian Christmas for our 2nd Grade Students!

Holly Palo & Kim Witt ~ two extraordinary associates wish all of the students at Crestwood Elementary a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!
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Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year! Have a wonderful and safe holiday!

Terese Jurgensen
(563) 929-6344
tjurgensen@howard-winn.k12.ia.us









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