A Little Late Resolution…


Did you make any new year’s resolutions this past week? If so, have you broken them yet?

It occurs to me that I did not make any last minute “2015 Do-overs.” In fact, Terri and I had a great New Year’s Eve at home watching a Hallmark movie. We didn’t go out and we didn’t ring in the New Year. I didn’t want to. I enjoy being at home. The girls were gone and Terri and I had the house to ourselves (which is becoming increasingly common with both girls in college).

Truth be told I didn’t even switch channels until 12 seconds before midnight. NBC had already begun the countdown (without the ball no less). When the New Year arrived in O’Shields-Land, Terri and I kissed and toasted to the New Year. But that was about it.

Now I am not one to poo-poo New Year’s resolutions; I just didn’t make any. I have before…and I have tried to keep a few. You know the typical ones— exercise more, lose weight, eat better, go to bed earlier, on and on.

I just don’t often have the persevering resolve to see them through. I am a noted resolution backslider. At least until this past Sunday.

I attended church and watched as we said farewell to one of our own—Sallie Anna Barton—who was leaving Clinton to become Youth and Children’s Director at a much larger church in Charlotte.

Sallie Anna had the distinct misfortune to be an elementary and middle school student when I was principal at Clinton Elementary and Bell Street Middle School. Terri and I have literally watched her grow up in front of us.

Sallie Anna had served our church with distinction in many official and unofficial roles and now we were bidding her Godspeed and goodbye.

And then it hit me. Sallie Anna is a proud graduate of our district schools. She is destined to do great things although likely not in Clinton. We have so many students who are doing great things who have graduated our system.

Most, nearly all are not world famous, incredibly wealthy, or politically powerful; however, they are doing commendable, distinctive, and noble acts in an effort to leave the world better than they found it.

Mayor McLean has been asking me for years to contact alumni of District 56 and allow them the chance to be covered in the paper. Why? Because we have done an incredibly good job of preparing many of them to be contributing citizens, faithful family members, and a credit to society. And they all had their formative years in Clinton and product of an under-rated and under-stated school district.

Current board member Coach Keith Richardson has requested we tout our accomplishments in a more progressive and aggressive fashion. We need billboards and other publications detailing the many good, no, really great things happening here. Why? Because we do! We are loaded with under-known greatness and potential.

So, as a result of my waxing sentimental over our community’s loss and Charlotte’s gain with Sallie Anna moving, I hereby resolve to find, put out, and shout the accomplishments of our district…one student at a time.

I will implore Mr. Franklin to give me the chance to search, research, and shout the accomplishments of our students. And, no, they may not be world famous or rich or powerful…but they are making a difference in their communities.

We brought them up the right way, the District 56 way, and we are very proud of them.

So Mayor McLean, I resolve to find students and share their stories; Coach Richardson, I resolve to become the ambassador and public relations director for our district.

We have great things here in Clinton. We have great people here in Clinton. And we will shout, tout, and spread about the message of District 56 and our communities. Why? Because we are proud of the routine, mundane efforts of our students and the potential they possess…if not for greatness, then for goodness. And, heaven knows, we need more goodness in this world.

Happy New Year!


(David O’Shields is superintendent of Laurens School District 56.)

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