Cary Anderson, Elkhart Memorial
When people ask me about working in Elkhart Schools, I respond quickly with “we have great kids in Elkhart, who accomplish great things all day long”. When I introduce myself to others, it is easy for me to state I am the “proud” principal of Elkhart Memorial High School. This is my twelfth year in Elkhart Schools, and still every day I witness new things that inspire me as we work with our wonderful students.
One of the great things about Elkhart Schools is the commitment level we have to our students and their families. It really does not matter what path you are on, where you come from, or what happened in the past, we will do whatever it takes to create an educational plan to meet your goals. If you want to go straight into the workforce after graduating or you have the opportunity to graduate after your junior year and attend Stanford University (as one of our students did), we will support you by surrounding you with caring adults and effective programs that allow you to pursue your future plans.
I am lucky to work with so many adults that truly value the importance of a student gaining an education. Our teachers, custodians, cafeteria workers, paraprofessionals, secretaries, bus drivers, and administrators all play an important role as we support each child and their families. I know from my many years in Elkhart Schools, that our entire staff donates their own time and money to support our students in various ways. I think about a recent conversation I had with a custodian, who found out a student production needed a new audio cord for the sound, and he told me very simply, “They needed it, so I just went out to Radio Shack and bought one for them.” No one asked him to do this, and definitely not to buy it out of his own pocket. I am sure this is one of literally hundreds of good will gestures that reflect the attitude of our Elkhart Schools employees.
I also very much appreciate the fact we are not standing still as a school system. We are embracing change, whether it is forced upon us on from federal and state mandates, or change was created from within because it is what is best for our students. I think of the explosion in dual credit opportunities for our students, the rise in the number of Advanced Placement courses, the multitude of community service projects our students are involved with and the creation of the Air Force Junior ROTC program. These initiatives were not forced upon us, we choose to do this for our students and we are currently reaping the benefits of these programs. We will continue to be responsive to our students and our community’s needs as we seek ways to improve and move forward as a district.
Principal, Elkhart Memorial High School