For us here at the Standard-Times, the start of the new school year is basically that start of a new year for us well. As the summer wears on, story ideas begin to dry up and around the halfway point we're aching for the school year to begin.
Thank goodness today was the first day school and my first assignment of the "new year" was a good one. I got up early, around 6:15am or so without much resistance from my body, had a short glass of almond milk and was out the door by 7:00. With the recent rains in the area our mornings have been surprisingly cool so I was able to make the 20-mile drive with the windows rolled down, one of my all-time favorite things to do. (I know it sounds weird.)
Originally, we were planning on doing a series of first-day vignettes at random schools around San Angelo, but when we were told that we would not be allowed to go on campuses until 10:00am we decided to nix that idea and start calling around to the area schools. That's when education reporter Laurel Scott got in touch with the Christoval ISD and found out that they were going to hold a convocation and tree-planting ceremony in memory of two students who died in June in a car crash.
In early June, Cheyanne Peterman, 16, was driving a GMC Envoy that was
struck by an 18-wheeler. She died the morning after the crash. The front-seat
passenger, Gavino Madrid, 17, died the night of the crash, which
occurred just three miles north of Chnristoval. Gavino's 16-year-old younger brother, Pete Madrid Jr., also was a
passenger in the SUV and was taken to San Angelo Community Medical
Center and remained in fair condition until he was released. It was a sad deal all around.
This assignment couldn't have gone better. The school welcomed us with open arms and didn't put any restrictions on what I could photograph and the families of the two students willingly did interviews with us. It was a very heart-warming hour of work. The main speaker for the convocation was Phil Todd, a local pastor from Paul Ann Baptist Church, and his message was simple: Are you living a life of success or a life of significance? Success is measured one achievement at a time while significance is the sum total of your impact of those around you.
While I was driving home from the assignment a full rainbow appeared on the left-hand side of the road and just a minute later a light shower started to fall. We are always in need of rain around here so I felt doubly blessed with a great assignment and rain. And there's even more precipitation in the forecast! Hopefully, with such a great start to the "new year", this means there are even greater things to come. Perhaps this is a year to be significant, not just successful.