“Ultreia!” Onwards!

This summer I walked the Camino de Santiago from Portugal to Spain.  Medieval pilgrims would greet each other with the word “Ultreia!” encouraging each other to move onwards to their final destination in Santiago de Compostela.  Each day I moved onwards to my next destination, gradually getting closer to my goal.  Along the way to completing the 200 mile walk/hike, I met many people from different countries with a common goal: to reach Santiago de Compostela.

At one segment of my hike, I met a large group of people wearing white t-shirts with a yellow arrow (which is commonly used as a way marker for those hiking the Camino). This great ensemble of individuals included people with physical disabilities.  One young girl had no arms and no legs.  Yet, two volunteers were carrying her on a specially-constructed stretcher with wheels.  An older woman, probably in her eighties, was peddling a cycle using her arms to help her complete the Camino de Santiago.  When going uphill, a volunteer gently pushed her from the rear to offer some assistance.  A young adult had limited use of his right side and required a crutch.  A volunteer walked with him along the Camino, helping him during difficult paths along the road.  People worked together either physically or emotionally, encouraging one another to go onwards.   I found the following video on TEDx talks, which reminded me of what I witnessed:

The episodes of people working together along my hike to reach a common destination by a certain time frame were numerous.  All the “pilgrims” I met along the way arrived at Santiago on the same day, and we cheered and hugged each other as each of us arrived to the Cathedral in Santiago.  This display of teamwork, unity, and care was an awesome display of what people can achieve to accomplish a common goal.

When I returned to school, I witnessed a similar type of collaboration as various contractors worked on our campus to make sure that the school is ready to open in time for the 2017-2018 school year.  For the past five months Clarkstown North has seen unparalleled infrastructure upgrades.  Coordinating all the varying moving pieces required much organization and effort.  Synchronizing all the various subcontractors to function simultaneously is difficult enough.  Ensuring that these projects are all completed on time is nothing short of amazing.  Just like an orchestra requires a conductor to ensure that various instruments of an orchestra play together to produce harmonious music, individuals are required to ensure that North’s infrastructure project was completed on time for the school to open.  I would like to acknowledge and thank our “conductors” Mr. John LaNave, Assistant Superintendent, and Mr. Anthony Valenti, Director of Facilities, for ensuring that the construction projects occurred in an organized and timely manner. I appreciate their help and level of communication throughout this entire process.  Mr. Jimmy Rohe, North’s Head Custodian, and his staff should also be recognized for making certain that the school is safe, clean, and operational just in time for us to open.

The campus itself might not look that much different as you walk the building; however, what lies above the ceiling tiles and below the floors is definitely not the same.  Above the ceiling, with the exception of North’s newest addition, the X-Wing Building (2005), new roofing was placed.  Old tiles were replaced with new tiles in certain parts of the building.  Faster and more robust WiFi routers were also installed.  New roof drainage was installed on the second floor of the Main Building.  Beneath the floors, much needed new electrical wiring was laid down and two new electrical transformers were installed.  These electrical upgrades will provide us with the necessary requirements needed to power our modern technology.  The old boiler in the Main Building, which was as old as the Old Tappan Zee Bridge, was replaced with a newer, slimmer, and more energy efficient one.

“Ulteria!” Onwards we go as another school year begins.  While the Class of 2018 will be spending their last year with us at Clarkstown North, we are looking forward to getting to know our newest students, the Class of 2021!

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