Jan. 14, 2021
Ray-Pec Parent Community,
 
Every third Monday of January, this nation honors Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an official holiday recognizing the life of one of our most respected leaders. When we observe this day, we honor the legacy of a man who brought hope and change to our communities. In my first email to you back in July, I explained that my personal “why” statement is that I believe Everyone Is Created to Flourish. Everyone truly means everyone. I believe that we are a stronger community as we seek to understand all of our students and staff members, regardless of background, disability, race, color, or personal belief, and work to build an environment where true human flourishing is possible. The word Flourish can best be defined in this way: "To grow and develop in the most healthy and most vigorous of ways, especially as the result of a favorable environment." To a word nerd like me, the term "favorable environment" energizes me. That is what we get to do in Ray-Pec each and every day. We build that favorable environment. It is an environment which allows Everyone the ability to grow and learn in the most healthy and most vigorous of ways, in ways that are safe, understanding, and inclusive. This is part of our on-going work toward building a flourishing environment here in the Ray-Pec School District.
 
Another interesting fact about MLK day is that it is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service. There have been several stories shared with me this year about how our Ray-Pec students have served their community. I want to share some of those stories with you.
  • Members of the High School’s National Honor Society and Student Leadership Team conducted a drive-thru Santa visit experience that included a collection of food, toys, and clothing to be donated.
  • Motivational posters were created for our middle school hallways.
  • Greeting cards and small inspirational posters were created for staff and patients at a local hospital.
  • Holiday greeting cards were made for a local nursing home. 
  • Elementary students collected items for the Raymore Animal Shelter; wrote letters of encouragement to a Peculiar Police Officer who was injured in the line of duty; and participated in various food and clothing drives.
  • Throughout the school year, Panther Pride staff and students performed service for residents of Benton House in Raymore. Staff painted uplifting messages on windows for residents to see as they could not have visitors. On another occasion, students made Christmas cards and posters for residents, as well as for the staff break room and other high traffic areas. 
  • Panther Pride students stuffed stockings for a local organization called Della Lamb. The stockings were for kids in need at Christmas. Della Lamb normally relies on older volunteers to help, but those volunteers were not available this year due to health risks.
  • Student Senate served the community with a canned food drive.
  • The Panther Pride Marching Band had their 2nd Annual Glow Show where they collected four barrels of food and winter clothing items.   
  • Our FBLA students provided for families in need.
  • And the list goes on….
 
These are just a few of the stories about how our students and staff are engaged in community service and have committed themselves to reaching out to others.  Their efforts help make our community a better and more flourishing place, one day at a time. Possibly more than ever, this is the type of kindness our community and nation needs to see and experience. This is the message of hope and encouragement that is evident through the lives of our students and staff, and that which was encouraged by Dr. King.
 
Thank you for entrusting your children to the Ray-Pec School District,
 
Mike Slagle

I am passionately driven by the belief that Everyone Is Created To Flourish