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Pulling together in tough times

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By The Staff

Italics: The following column is a reprint of Marion County High School Principal Taylora Schlosser's comments during the Veterans Day ceremony held at the high school Nov. 14.   Thank you. It is an honor to be asked to close our Veteran's Day ceremony. I would like to take this time to remind everyone that we live in the greatest country in the world and the reason for this - the men and women seated before us who put their lives on the line to protect our country, the men and women who are currently protecting our country and the men and women who have already passed away that served in the military protecting our country. We live in a country where we have the right to assemble as we have today to express our appreciation for our Veterans, we live in a country where we have several freedoms that other individuals around the world only dream of. Again, I would like to thank our Veteran's seated here today for their service so that we may practice our freedoms. 

I would also like to take this time to address a very unfortunate event that our school has been dealing with - that is the loss of a young man named Cody Greenwell. A week ago today he was with his classmates; today he is no longer with us. I would like to take this time to honor Cody by asking everyone to observe a moment of silence.

Thank you.

As we all know, this has been a very difficult week. As our school was mourning the loss of a student, we were also dealing with several rumors about the safety and well being of our school, students and staff. But as I reflect on this week's events, what I observed is a community pulling together. It was and has been a difficult situation. Counselors from every school in the district were here on Monday morning waiting for students who needed someone to talk to. Communicare provided therapists for students and staff. Local and state law enforcement officials have worked side by side with our staff to ensure that our building was a safe place for students and staff. For all the hours that you have dedicated to our school, on behalf of MCHS and Marion County Public Schools, thank you!

Our local media has worked closely with MCPS and Lebanon City Police to release accurate and up-to-date information about the situation we were dealing with at MCHS. The staff from our central office came by daily to greet the students and offer assistance as needed. To them, I would like to express our appreciation.

I also want to thank our staff and students for dealing with a difficult situation. 

Staff arrived early to assist with the safety concerns and to find out what they needed to do to support our students as they mourned the loss of Cody. They continued to stand at their door with a smile hoping to make students feel at ease and to let students know if they needed someone to talk to about the loss of their classmate and friend they would listen or find someone they needed to talk to, thank you.

As we asked students to look through their cars, purses and book-bags, they cooperated and were ready to head to class when we gave them the go ahead. The students have handled this situation with dignity. Students' only request was to honor Cody. In his honor, a song was played for the entire student body, titled "Cody Blue" written and performed by the band Of Echoes. 

As a close, I would like to remind everyone that our Veterans have traveled across the world to keep our country safe but every day we have people who work to make our community safe. In our school, it is everyone's responsibility to make MCHS a safe place to learn. Students, we need everyone in our building to, one, be aware and, two, be responsible. If you know factual info that can help our school continue to be a safe place to learn, then please tell an adult. Do not send text messages, post a message on Topix, or emails. The staff at MCHS not only wants to educate you but they want you to be safe and happy. It is a team effort. MCHS is a great school because we have great students and staff.

I would also remind everyone to be respectful - not just to adults but to each other. Treat each other and talk to each other the exact same way that you would want to be treated. Everyone has his or her own unique personality. Don't judge people based on how they dress or look or even how they speak. We should support each other and encourage one another to do their best and pursue their dreams because in America we have every opportunity and privilege to be or do whatever our heart desires!

As we began our week with a tragedy, we are ending our week with an opportunity to honor Cody as well as the veterans seated before us. Because without their service to our country - we would not have the opportunity to assemble as we have today. Again, I say, we live in the greatest country in the world and we owe to all the past and present veterans. Thank you.