• May 13, 2021


    Dear Parents, Staff, Students, Board of Education and Johnnie Community,


    As we find ourselves approaching the end of the 2020-2021 school year, I would like again to express my sincere appreciation for the amazing support, patience, cooperation and perseverance you have displayed as we together have worked our way through the maze of challenges we have faced during this historic pandemic. By rolling up our sleeves and working together (that is the Johnnie Way) we have been able to provide our students with a level of learning continuity, and maintenance of student activities, experienced by very few other districts in this nation. This is purely because of “your” efforts individually, and the collective efforts of all within our Johnnie community. Together we have protected the learning opportunities and activities for our students this school year. For this united effort, I thank you!

    What we have experienced this past year has provided the opportunity for us to learn individually, and collectively, who we are as human beings. It has caused many to reflect on priorities in life and the way we treat each other. We have experienced not only reflections on the way we interact to provide education to our children; but, also reflections on the way we interact with our families, our co-workers, our local businesses, our churches, our state, our nation and indeed our world. We have witnessed a wide array of attitudes, opinions and actions as we individually, and collectively, have reacted to issues related to schools, government, health regulations, vaccines, masks and broader social issues.

    My friends, each one of us wakes up each day and makes a decision as to how we will think, speak and act around our family, friends, co-workers, and, quite frankly, every human being who sees us or with whom we interact. We need to ask ourselves if we will focus on the positive, or focus on the negative. Will we look for the positive in others? Will we look for the negative in others? Will we be encouragers or discouragers? Will we attack others personally for what they believe? Alternatively, will we respect each other’s differences of opinion on issues without attacking each other personally? Indeed these choices each of us have to make each day directly affect our ability to achieve success collectively.

    This year, as a school district facing and experiencing a most difficult set of challenges, we have tried to maintain an attitude of respect for the varying opinions, attitudes and needs of all within our school district. We did this while keeping our focus squarely on what we needed to do for the common good of all students, staff and parents in providing educational services at the highest level possible.

    I am asked frequently these days what I believe are the most important lessons learned from this journey through the pandemic. The most important lesson, in my opinion, is that when we respect the differences among us, focus on doing whatever is necessary to provide for the common good of all, and positively support and care for each other even with our different opinions and attitudes on issues, we can accomplish great things together. After all, is that not what makes a community? Is that not what makes us Americans living in the greatest melting pot of democracy on the face of the earth?

    I am so deeply proud of “our” community in the way we have travelled this pandemic journey together thus far. I am equally proud of our Senior Graduating Class of 2021 as they have admirably led and persevered through the many challenges they have faced this past year. I encourage the Class of 2021, all students, and persons of all ages to reflect upon the experiences we have had this past year and move forward with a commitment to respectfully, and positively, care for others while collectively striving for that, which is for the common good of all. If we all do that, there is nothing we cannot accomplish…..together.




    Dale L. Dickson


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