This week's "My turn" column is by Patricia Bliss, principal of St. Mary's School in Oneonta.
As a native of Cooperstown, I am so happy to have been given the opportunity to return to Otsego County to work and live here once again.
I brought with me 28 years of work and life experiences from the good people of northern New Jersey. And I must say, Thomas Wolfe was wrong when he said you can't go home again.
I have found that the mission of the schools I knew in New Jersey is the same as the schools I now know here in New York. That mission is to build a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning. Add to that a dedication to strengthen the formation of character, compassion and values, and we are still no different from one another regardless of, whether we are public, private or religious.
We at St. Mary's believe, as all educators do, that we are called to educate the mind, the heart and the spirit. We provide our students with experiences that will enable them to grow as responsible citizens of their communities and to become lifelong learners.
Our academic aim is to educate each child to master skills of reading, computation and communication, to value past and present cultures within the world community, to explore scientific theory and to experience and appreciate music, art and physical education.
Again, I stress, I believe this is what all schools strive to do. I applaud my colleagues in Otsego and Delaware counties. I have joined a group of dedicated professionals whose commitment serves as an example to the entire community.
Community involvement is a key component in the ability to meet the challenges that we all face. It is a matter of trust, trust in our own abilities and trust in the ability of each group and organization to work together.