Views of the Valley: Once a Charger, always a Charger

A longstanding tradition at Carbondale Area changed a bit this year, thanks to COVID-19. The holiday tree was set up outside instead of in the school commons.

My commission as Carbondale Area School District Superintendent of Schools began on July 1. I have greatly enjoyed my first six months, both personally and professionally. Within this time, I have seen the heart and soul of the community. Carbondale, known as “The Pioneer City,” is a unique place with a rich, historical presence due to its coal mining past. It is not just a community with common values and goals, or a community that is there for his and her neighbors, but it is also a community that is genuinely passionate about their history, their story, their traditions and always being a Charger.

An annual tradition during the holiday season at the Junior-Senior High School is seniors placing an individual ornament created for them on the holiday tree in the commons area of the school. This year, our existing tradition was enhanced.

Due to distance learning and COVID-19, our tree lighting and ornament ceremony was held outside. The red and blue lights lit up the 10-foot lush, green Douglas fir in front of the high school that highlighted the glass ornaments which proudly displayed the CA logo and name of the senior. A total of 118 ornaments decorated the tree. While the students were waiting to place their ornaments, I overheard a student say to a classmate, “Once a Charger, always a Charger.” This statement is not just a motto, it is a reality.

Even though we have not returned to in-person instruction yet, our students have displayed their resilience. They have adapted and hit every curve ball pitched to them. Our students have had many accomplishments during this time. Bayley Grizzanti was named a National Merit Scholarship Program 2021 Commended Student. Julian Turonis’ artwork is currently being displayed on three billboards in Lackawanna County. Student council participated in the Feed a Friend Program. Alyssa Cosklo, Ellen Higdon, Emily Kelly, Emma Baker and Sophia Calzola were selected to participate in Tomorrow’s Leaders Today. The physics club is offering virtual tutoring. I applaud and express admiration to our students and their accomplishments. These students have embraced our “Once a Charger, Always a Charger” motto by enhancing our existing traditions and establishing their own.

What does #AlwaysaCharger mean? It is the collective essence of all of the characteristics, qualities, attitudes, and principles our students consistently demonstrate. It is the fortitude with which our school district thrives, and it is the students who champion that spirit.

As a proud citizen of Carbondale, I, too, will ALWAYS be a Charger!