Superintendent’s Corner

December 12, 2019

Dear GCSD Families and Community Members:

In the spirit of the holidays (and because I am a history teacher), please enjoy the following excerpt from The Christmas Truce by David B. Stratman:

It was December 25, 1914, only 5 months into World War I. German, British, and French soldiers, already sick and tired of the senseless killing, disobeyed their superiors and fraternized with “the enemy” along two-thirds of the Western Front (a crime punishable by death in times of war). German troops held Christmas trees up out of the trenches with signs, “Merry Christmas.”

“You no shoot, we no shoot.” Thousands of troops streamed across a no-man’s land strewn with rotting corpses. They sang Christmas carols, exchanged photographs of loved ones back home, shared rations, played football, even roasted some pigs. Soldiers embraced men they had been trying to kill a few short hours before. They agreed to warn each other if the top brass forced them to fire their weapons, and to aim high.

A shudder ran through the high command on either side. Here was disaster in the making: soldiers declaring their brotherhood with each other and refusing to fight. Generals on both sides declared this spontaneous peacemaking to be treasonous and subject to court martial. By March 1915 the fraternization movement had been eradicated and the killing machine put back in full operation. By the time of the armistice in 1918, fifteen million would be slaughtered.

This story reminds me to let go of hurts, perceived or real, and forgive. May you, too, honor your fellow man/woman this holiday season by absolving folks of their offenses.

Now … on to school district business, please know that the GCSD Board of Education wants to hear from as many stakeholders as possible regarding district operations and initiatives. The Board’s three working committees (Budget Review Committee, Board Policy Committee, and Handbook Committee) each include parent representatives, staff representatives, an administrative representative, a Board representative, and student representatives (when applicable). Please look for emails from the district soliciting volunteers for these committees which provide recommendations to the Board and consider serving on one.

Additionally, to provide all district stakeholders a way to communicate directly and regularly with the GCSD School Board, the Board provides an email link located on the Board webpage located at https://www.galenaalaska.org/school-board/. To communicate directly with the Board, please click on the link located directly underneath “Contact the GCSD School Board.”

All information regarding the GCSD School Board’s work can be found at https://www.galenaalaska.org/school-board/. This webpage provides information about our current Board members and all Board meeting packets, which include Board meeting minutes. The GCSD Board wants to ensure that all stakeholders can easily access information pertinent to our students’ educational programs.

Furthermore, school administrators live into the Board’s Strategic Plan by providing regular communications about Board decisions, district programs, and student learning. The letters are emailed to all of our parent/guardian email addresses, mailed home to our parents/guardians, and posted on our school and district websites.

I will close with an attempt at some holiday cheer (from Readers Digest publication):

While I was working as a store Santa, a boy asked me for an electric train set. “If you get your train,” I told him, “your dad is going to want to play with it too. Is that all right?”

The boy became very quiet. So, moving the conversation along, I asked, “What else would you like Santa to bring you?”

He promptly replied, “Another train.”

Enjoy sharing the holiday season with your close family and your extended human family!

Yours in Education,

Jim Merriner, GCSD Superintendent
Email: jim.merriner@galenanet.com