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It's the students who need thanks

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:44 PM

The Chamber was on the receiving end of some very special thank yous last week. Several of the classes from Pleasant Elementary wrote to express their appreciation for the work done by the Chamber to better the community.

They think you're awesome, you're wonderful, and you're really great. I think you are, too! So much of what happens in our community is due to the vision of our members and your willingness to dedicate countless hours and numerous resources to make them reality.

The student's letters are up in the office so the next time you are in the vicinity stop in and have a look; they'll make your day.

Tonight is also the art show and ice cream social at Pleasant. I think I'll go hang out with the kids for a while. It'd be great to see you there, as well, at 7 p.m. in the Pleasant Elementary cafeteria.

I was also fortunate enough to talk to a young man in a store parking lot the other day about a current high school project in which he is part of a chamber charged with recruiting businesses to a community. Since it seems many of the schools are looking at the community at the same time I'd like to take this opportunity to tell them about one of the most important aspects of our community our schools, more specifically, our students.

When any business considers where to open, relocate or expand there are many factors that weigh in on the decision. Of course the physical location is of major concern, as are utility supply and costs, availability of a quality workforce, etc. However, one of the biggest, and sometimes deciding, factors is our schools. What shape are they in? Are they financially stable? What sort of curriculum do they offer? More importantly, how are the students doing? Test scores, graduation rates, the percentage of students that go on to college or technical training. You are the big factor. What you do, your grades, how you conduct yourselves at events, the special things you do for others, all of those things have a huge impact far beyond the school doors, on people you will never even know. That's a lot of responsibility. It's also why the business community is so supportive of your schools, sports teams and other extracurricular activities. Your success is important to the future of the whole community.

Last Thursday I happened to be at Norwalk High School during the lockdown. Drugs are a big topic right now and it was clear law enforcement was searching for that very thing. I was pleased for several reasons when the Reflector reported none were found. One, drugs destroy good people with promising futures and no one wants that for any of you. Next, when the chamber looks at you, we are looking at the future leaders of our businesses. You can't lead if you're buzzed. And, finally, if a company is considering locating here or maybe staying here as opposed to relocating elsewhere, a drug search that comes up empty in our schools is the sort of news they like to see.

So while you go to school and learn about the Chamber and the community and endure all the tests and other requirements put upon you throughout your school years, the Chamber and the community are rooting for you to succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

Melissa James is executive director of the Norwalk-Area Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at the chamber office, 10 W. Main St., Norwalk, or by calling (419) 668-4155.

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