Thank You Dr. Wardynski

Yeah, I know. I’m sure few of my regular readers never expected to see a title like that on this blog.

I’m sure it will come as an even bigger surprise to some working in the central office and those on the board. In fact, at the State of the Schools address recently, one board member jokingly asked if it was safe to sit between me and Dr. Wardynski for fear of being hit by something I might throw. It was a joke, but . . .

But I’m writing this to say thank you to Dr. Wardynski for being present at two events that I care a great deal about.

On Wednesday, April 11, 2012 Dr. Wardynski joined Mayor Battle in speaking at the Autism Awareness Month kick-off event planned by Mrs. Nancy Barnes and Dr. Edwards, the principal of Hampton Cove Middle School.

As is typical of the events that Mrs. Barnes organizes, this kick-off was informative, exciting and moving. One of the more moving parts was a video by a dad, Lou, whose daughter, Bianca, has autism. I hadn’t seen it before, and yes, I was in tears at it’s completion. If you haven’t seen it, watch it below:

While I cannot claim that Dr. Wardynski’s words were as moving as those, he was gracious enough to come and speak at this event. And for his support of Autism Awareness Month, I offered him and Topper Birney (who was also present) my thanks. I thought it important enough to also offer my private thanks in a public way as well.

As I said to them both, just as my parents taught me to fight for what I believe is right, they also taught me to say thank you.

And so I am. Both for his willingness to at least listen when a parent like Lou has something important to say and for his attendance at the State PTA Reflections Award Banquet yesterday afternoon in Mobile.

For those of you who don’t know, Mobile, Alabama is at best a six-hour drive from Huntsville. We drove down on Friday to see the girl win First Place for her video about Diversity. (If you haven’t seen it . . . oh, who am I kidding? Everyone who reads this blog has at least heard of it by now. But anyway, I’m a proud dad.) It was a long way to go for banquet chicken.

Dr. Wardynski, and his wife Sue, were present for the awards luncheon. There were several people from Huntsville being honored yesterday, so this wasn’t just for my girl, but I didn’t notice a significant number of superintendents from other districts who made the drive.

He was kind and gracious to my family. His presence for a celebration of the Arts in schools, just like his presence at the Autism Awareness Month kick-off, was important. It draws attention to the necessary role that the Arts play in education. It draws attention to the crucial role that Diversity plays in our lives. It draws attention to the fact that 1 in 88 children in America have autism. It draws attention to the fact that 1 in 69 children in Huntsville have it too.

His presence meant a lot to me and to my family.

And for those things, I say thank you. Your presence in Mobile was beyond the call of duty to your position as superintendent.

Girl and Superintendent.

Dr. Wardynski and I disagree about a great many things. That hasn’t changed. But despite an unnamed board member’s fear of being caught in the cross fire, I am not throwing things at him for the sake of throwing things.

I am simply fighting for what I believe in, and I won’t stop. But I will say thank you because that’s something I believe in as well.

"Children see magic because they look for it." --Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Jesus' childhood pal.

1 Comment

  1. That video is great! I am glad to see some positive things going on tied to the superintendent. We donated two iPads to the Williams Middle School Autism Unit (where our daughter is assigned) and we recieved a nice letter from the superintendent thanking us for our donation to the school. I am hoping it will spark more from the school to use technology for those classrooms.
    The other autism video from the father was also very moving!! I agree you have to fight for your child, no matter what!

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