Maralee Sullivan: Come see what the Lima schools offer

When my husband and I were young parents, we heard all the naysayers. We heard the negative comments. We heard all the supposed reasons we should not enroll our three children in the Lima City Schools.

Having grown up in the region, but not the city, we heard them our whole lives. Fortunately, at crucial moments, we also heard voices of positivity from those with actual experience with Lima schools.

We chose to listen to those who knew the truth, and I am grateful for that now every single day when I send our children off to school.

I am grateful for that decision as I watch my son in the Lima Senior Marching Band and my younger children in school performances. I am grateful as I see all the opportunities they have now and the so many waiting for them at the high school.

I am grateful as I watch them get pushed to be their best, as they get both the rigor and sometimes interventions they need. I am reminded as I sit with their dedicated and caring teachers at parent-teacher conferences and as I see the ever-diverse circle of friends they’ve found.

Our three children have different interests, different personalities, different strengths and needs. And our school district connects with and reaches all three of them and is preparing each for bright futures.

As the district gets ready for our “Celebrate Public Schools: Experience the Spartan Pride Week,” I want to take my turn to share the positive message of all we have to celebrate.

To start, we are a district that welcomes every child who comes through our doors. We don’t and would never turn students away. We see other schools that use vouchers to entice and then accept only the students that fit them, but that is not us.

We pride ourselves in serving every student no matter the circumstance, no matter what it takes. We know every child has potential, and it’s our job to walk with them as they reach it. It may not always be easy, but our staff is dedicated and will never give up on any child.

We make a difference in students’ lives and prepare them for the future largely because of the many opportunities afforded to them: Student clubs, career tech, music, athletics, opportunities to earn college credits and to do community service work. Within all these options, there are even more choices for students. There is truly something for everyone.

Our staff members are continually honing their skills, coming up with new and innovative ways to challenge students and provide student-specific interventions. The people who work in this district are never satisfied; they always want to do better.

We’re committed to being here for the whole family. A health center, food pantries, summer lunches, school supply giveaways and parent workshops are just a few ways we serve families.

We are proud Lima schools’ parents, and no one will ever change that. Yet, it is still hard to hear those cynics, those people who look down on our school district and our children, those people who largely have never experienced the Lima schools yet have nothing good to say.

If people would take a closer look, get to know our staff and students and see the work happening in our classrooms, they would understand why so many make the choice to be part of this Spartan family.

Your chance to experience the Lima City Schools is coming soon. Our district-wide open house will be 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Lima Senior. It is the public’s chance to tour the school, learn about our buildings and programs and experience student performances, artwork, projects and more.

There will be hands-on activities and demonstrations, information about student organizations and meetings on high school graduation requirements. Our student-run Spartan Inn will provide a free meal, and we will give away prizes all evening. Grab a punch card, and go to each location on the card for a chance to win grand prizes.

If you haven’t been to Lima Senior before or truly experienced all this incredible district has to offer, I urge you to take advantage of our open house. Come see for yourself!

For those already with us who know what we are all about, we want to see you too. You just might discover something new. But most importantly, come celebrate with us!

Maralee Sullivan is president of the Lima school board. Her column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.