We had a softball tournament at school this weekend. I worked the gate, watched my students play, talked with board members and parents. It was a beautiful day, cloudless, warm, breezy. We had many teams participating, from all over the state. While I was chatting with a friend, she mentioned that one of the girls from another school (a well-to-do private school in Atlanta, one large enough they choose to compete in GHSA athletics rather than the independent association program) had told our softball players we were a "poor school." I think our girls were a tad miffed and a little hurt.
Interesting, isn't it, the difference between perception and reality?
If you'd walked through our softball complex today, you'd have seen three fields surrounded by chain link and wooden fences, some portable bleachers, dugouts, a wooden concession stand, a tent at the entrace gate, a concrete block restroom building. You'd have seen that the parking area was under the pecan trees and that the entryway is a dirt path worn by many cars. You wouldn't have seen any score boards. We can't afford them yet and keep score on white boards.
Yes, looking around, you'd probably think we were a "poor school," too. We all know it's easier to write a check than give of your time and yourself. It's difficult to come from outside and look at the softball fields, where there used to be a pecan grove a few short years ago, and see how rich we truly are.
Those fields, those fences, those dugouts, that concession stand, the less-than-fancy restrooms -- all of that came from parent volunteer labor. Others look at our facilities, compare them to what fairly unlimited money can buy, and find us lacking. We look at our facilities, see the level of commitment and sacrifice that went into creating not only our softball complex, but our school, and we wouldn't trade it for anything money can buy.
The perception? Yes, I guess we look like a "poor school."
The reality? We're rich beyond our wildest dreams.
What are your intangible riches?