When my family moved to Frederick in the summer of 2019, those four words called us to Carbon Valley Academy. At that time, little did we know of the unexpected challenges and surprises America and the world would face in 2020 -- global pandemics and a bitter, divisive Presidential election can certainly add a layer of complexity to life! Nevertheless, the CVA community managed to shut out the “noise” and continued to stick to our motto. Last Spring, when the faculty, staff, and students had to WORK HARD to make distance learning something we could all be proud of, everyone dug in and remembered to emphasize the importance of human decency and kindness.
Now, more than ever, kindness counts. Uncertainty affects us in ways we could not imagine as recently as last March. Regardless of how we’ve been impacted by COVID-19 or any of life’s challenges, we live in a world that could consume us with doom scrolling and incessant negativity. Instead, as CVA Stallions, we choose to BE NICE.
Life is full of these choices. Be respectful. Be compassionate. Be honest. Or don’t. As citizens of the world, what choices allow us to sleep better at night?
As a parent, my goal has always been to create a better world for my children and to encourage them to do the same for others. Is that an easy task every day? Of course not! Being human makes us fallible, but by learning from our mistakes, we can constantly strive to improve.
Does that mean we have to WORK HARD to BE NICE? No. Life can be filled with struggle but being nice is never hard work. Like many things, niceness is a choice. Only by choosing otherwise do we make the work that much harder.
Robert Fulghum’s “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” touches on many basic human truths. “Share everything.” “Play fair.” “Don’t hit people.” “Put things back where you found them.” “Don’t take things that aren’t yours.” “Wash your hands before you eat.” Reviewing Fulghum’s work, it becomes apparent these truths are not particularly difficult to adhere to at any stage of life. When we think back to our youth, being nice was ingrained in us. But then, we grow older, life happens, and we often forget how easy it is to BE NICE.
When we look to CVA, we see our community continues to recognize and prioritize what matters most. Thanks in no small part to COVID funding from the State, we’ve been able to put our motto into further practice this year. Through our tutoring program, some students are seeing improvements of 200% or more over their previous scores. There is no doubt this has required them to WORK HARD, but it speaks volumes about the ways our faculty have embraced this program. That isn’t just because they have chosen to BE NICE; it’s because we live by our words at CVA.
The world can be a cold, dark place, especially after the firestorm of 2020. However, regardless of the hurdles that impact each of us, niceness will always shed light. Being nice isn’t hard work; remembering how it influences our actions allows us to focus on what matters. CVA is a beacon of light in that regard.
As we shape this next generation, we can be confident our students will understand the values of what it means to WORK HARD and BE NICE. At CVA, our motto isn’t empty words. Our motto is who we are and it’s what makes me proud to be a part of this incredible community.