The Big Walnut Board of Education received a treat before getting to business at its meeting on Feb. 15.
Eighteen students that made up the new Big Walnut Intermediate School Orchestra played a brief concert for the board members and a full house at the Administrative Office. Selections included Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and the lullaby Frere Jacques.
Proud parents filmed the concert and snapped photos of the young string musicians as they performed.
“Music offerings at BWI continue to grow,” said Principal Ryan McLane. “For some students, it makes them excited to come to school.”
The board was told the orchestra began with the school year, the musicians practicing two or three times a week, plucking and bowing.
“The orchestra moved me to tears,” said board member Allison Fagan. “My heart is in the arts. This has been a long time coming.”
Delaware Area Career Center board member Jim Hildreth, who was on hand to give an update on DACC, said hearing the orchestra made him glad he had served for 24 years on the BW Board of Education.
As is the case with Big Walnut, there were other accolades given out at the meeting. Tim Kraft of the state auditor’s office presented Treasurer Jeremy Buskirk the Auditor of State Award with Distinction. Buskirk called up his staff to share in the honor.
“Of the 6,000 government entities in the state, only 5 percent received this award,” Kraft said. “At the risk of sounding corny, you aced your audit.”
Also receiving recognition were: Macy Maxeiner, General Rosecrans Student of the Month; Nathan Severs, Big Walnut Intermediate Student of the Month; Langley Bishop, General Rosecrans Art Student of the Month; and Carter Dancer, Big Walnut Intermediate Art Student of the Month.
The school shooting earlier this week in Parkland, Florida, that took the lives of 17 students and teachers weighed heavily on the board and administrators’ minds.
Superintendent Angie Pollock said the district takes school safety very seriously, and that security upgrades were being made to all of its buildings.
Board member Brad Schneider said it seemed like school shootings involve a shooter that is either a current or former pupil of that school who had problems that weren’t being addressed. He also wanted to hear from a School Resource Officer what is being done to protect students.
“We have to rely on ourselves, not the state or federal government,” Schneider said. “We need to engage with one another to avoid tragedies.”
Fagan said the Florida school shooter was said to have mental illness, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not allowed to research gun violence. As a result, she said, “We can’t do anything about it but bicker.”
According to The Washington Post, “Gun-control research in the United States essentially came to a standstill in 1996. In 1996, the Republican-majority Congress threatened to strip funding from the (CDC) unless it stopped funding research into firearm injuries and deaths. The National Rifle Association accused the CDC of promoting gun control. As a result, the CDC stopped funding gun-control research — which had a chilling effect far beyond the agency, drying up money for almost all public health studies of the issue nationwide.”
Fagan urged those remaining at the meeting to call local State Rep. Rick Carfagna about the issue at 614-466-1431.
Among the initiatives students were taking was to wear blue and orange ribbons. The blue was in support of police, such as the two officers who were killed last weekend in Westerville; and the orange represented being opposed to gun violence.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.