Kim and I were asked to be on this comittee, to provide direction and input. We were both excited and the first meeting, led by Vail superintendent, Calvin Baker, was inspirational, as he outlined how we had received state grant money for a much needed, new high school, and since Vail School District is a district of choices, he challenged us to come up with another, new format school, for our kids to choose from. As you know, we have a traditional high school in Cienega, a tech high school in Empire, a charter high school that has an engineering focus in Vail Academy High School and an alternative high school in Pantano High School. That is a great variety for parents/children to select from.
If you've ever had a chance to hear Mr. Baker speak, he is very charasmatic, extremely knowledgeable and down to earth. Kim was charged on the way home, talking a mile a minute about the possibilities, passionate about the opportunities that would be there, not only for our bambini, but district wide children, too! She felt appreciative and honored to be selected to be a part of this project...
But, our life was busy, and she soon decided that I should continue on with the high school planning committee, so she could focus on other school and community projects that she was a huge part of. And you know, everyone from the Vail School District that I run into, tells me how hard a worker Kim was, that she never accepted anything less than perfection, and her attention to detail were tremendous and she always saw whatever project she was working on to completion - she did not leave anyone hanging or leave work for someone else. It was Kim's way to deliver the best, possible results.
There were days when I would show up for a meeting at the district office and Mr. Baker would say to me 'you just missed your wife, she was here for a planning meeting for Vail Pride Day', or some other district function...and when Kimmy got sick, the group prayed for her, before each meeting...they were supportive in so many ways. At the beginning of the year, Mr. Baker reached out, to see if I was ready to jump back in, by helping to select a principal for the new school, I was grateful and honored. We selected Darcy Mentone, Asst. Principal at Empire High School - it was nice to hire someone from right in our district, and Darcy also has played a huge role in the planning of this new high school - she is going to be another great principal in our district!
At the end of our meeting tonight, we went around the room, and had the opportunity to talk about our experience...I told the group that I appreciated being a part of this process and was amazed at how we began with nothing, planned the concept (academy style that is both college prep and vocational), worked on the design of the campus, chose the name and tonight, chose a mascot (the Mavericks!)...I told them how wonderful the Vail School District is, and the amazing support they have given to my family and families that live here (several days a week, they take care of Autumn and Antonio until I can get there after work, helping them with homework, giving them snacks, and love - today, the principal, Ms. Bryson, had them in her office when I managed to get there!), and then, I told them how great it was to work with all of them, volunteers, committed to making our school district even better ( and ours IS best - we get the least amount of gov't $$ in Pima County, put more of these $$ directly into the class room than ANY other school in Pima county, spend the least $$ on administrative costs in Pima county - also one of lowest in state! and consistently produce the HIGHEST test scores in Pima county and in top 5 of state!!!!) - I was humbled to be a part of this - check out the Vail School District web site for more on this incredible new offering that will open it's doors for our children in July of '11, or I can tell you more, just ask! I didn't have the strength to go into all of the details, here tonight, but the point is, that Kimmy has her finger prints all over this, like so many other great things she did for our community!
Not sure what the pink thing is in corner of this photo - it seems to be some sort of psuedo Easter egg one of the kids brought back from the 'Greatest Egg Hunt Ever' yesterday at Rolling Hills Park!
Anyway, I wish Kimmy could be here to have seen the end of this project, as our planning group officially turns the reigns over to the Andrada Site Based Council, the design is incredible and she sure would have appreciated it...so many of her ideas went into the making of this new school - you can sense her spirit in everything about it. And, I think again, about how, initially Kimmy wanted to put our bambini into private school, or home school them...that is, until she realized how incredible the teachers and leadership were here in Vail School District, then she knew, we were truly blessed...
And we are.
PS: Speaking of hard working and attention to detail, Janene stopped by with the flyers she had made for Kimmy's Kut-a-Thon, for distribution with the bambini's schools (Janene paid for them, so no school resources will be used!) - she is completing the details and expects a huge turnout - so she added two techs to do nails, while people wait for their haircuts! Kim would have been so emotional and appreciative over all Janene continues to do for our family and in her memory... : )