We’ve all heard them. The insults about Gloucester and the people who live here. The lame slights, the outdated stereotypes, the pregnancy pact – seriously we’re still doing that? I remember the soccer game where an 8-year-old boy on our team forgot to take off his watch before playing. The other coach joked about making sure our players took off their guns and knives, too. “This is Gloucester, after all,” he grinned. Another time, a group of parents from the opposing team yelled at us to “Go back to your stinkin’ fish city.”
Of course it seems like it’s always people from other towns that are the most down on Gloucester. The ones who’ve never had a picnic dinner on a blanket at Niles Beach with the kids paddling around on kayaks as the sun sets orange and pink across the Harbor over downtown. Who’ve never walked Main Street at a block party where it takes you an hour to go from Floating Lotus to Toodeloo’s because everyone you know is doing the face painting and giant chess set and “It’s great to see you how are the kids?” Who’ve never gone to a preschool Christmas concert at the Gloucester Fraternity Club where you have to get there 90 minutes early to get a seat because every 3-year-old has four grandparents, three aunts, two cousins and a bunch of neighbors who’ve come to see them mangle “Jingle Bells.”
It seems like it’s always the people who don’t know Gloucester who have the worst impression. I’ve noticed the same thing about the Gloucester public schools, too. As a parent of three kids, I know that our schools, like any school district, can get better. But I also see in our own kids and their friends the little moments of learning and wonder happening in the Gloucester public schools every day. Like the boy at the Math Olympiad ceremony, a Plum Cove Elementary School 5th grader, who did extra math problems all year and worked hard and slowly got better and better and by year’s end ended up scoring in the top 2 percent of all students statewide and there he was, accepting his award at the ceremony last week bashful but smiling as the parents’ applause and cheers rained down. Or our own East Gloucester Elementary School 4th grader, who learned to love music at school this year and at last week’s school-wide concert sang on her own from the stage in front of an auditorium-full of people and it didn’t matter that every note wasn’t perfect because she was brave and fearless and strong and her parents couldn’t have been more proud.
The people who don’t know the Gloucester public schools don’t know about these little moments. How could they? That’s why, over the next four Monday mornings, Good Morning Gloucester will feature a series of videos – one per week – telling the story of a student in the Gloucester public schools in their own words and those of their parents, too. The series was created along with two other Gloucester parents – John Sarrouf and Andrew Luman – in the hopes of sharing stories of why families choose the Gloucester public schools and what they love about their experience.
So stay tuned – the #ChooseGloucester video series debuts here on Good Morning Gloucester next Monday morning, June 18.
(photo of students above – credit to Gloucester Education Foundation).