This blog was guest written by Michelle John, Superintendent, Paradise Unified School District.
This year at Paradise High School, back to school season has a distinctly different feel to it. We aren’t just “coming back.” It’s more like we all are having one amazing come-back.
When we left our cherished campus, amidst so much devastation, grief and uncertainty, some wondered if we would ever return. Would it be here when we came back? And if it was, could it ever be the same?
It’s here. But of course it’s not the same. How could it be? Though I would contend, it’s even better. Because we endured. We overcame. We saw what happens when a community reaches out, lifts each other up and creates beauty from tragedy.
Never was this more evident than when I watched our beautiful Class of 2019 seniors graduate on our beloved Om Wraith Field. When the fire struck, I stood up and said that’s what we would do….even though I had no idea at the time how we’d pull it off. But our motto is “Rise Up” and that’s exactly what we did.
As with all amazing comebacks, we didn’t do it alone. Our students, our families and friends, this incredibly generous community pulled together. I knew we would. What I didn’t necessarily know is that there would be such an unbelievable outpouring of generosity from so many others. Donations and contributions of time, money, energy, heart, sweat, hard work…all the genuine empathy and pure kindness. It came from all corners and it supported and sustained us.
It still does.
I wanted to share with you this special video that helps to tell at least a part of our story.
While it’s important to honor our come-back, we must also look ahead. We’ve accomplished so much, yet there is still more to do. But through it all, and into the future I know this. We are fierce, strong, stealthy and capable – after all, the bobcat is our mascot for a reason.
We are, and will always be, Paradise High School Strong.