by Kris Cropsey
Special to Sun Thisweek
Dear faculty, staff and administrators of Eastview High School:
For 12 straight years, our life has revolved around the Eastview community and our lives have connected, intertwined and intersected with many of yours as our four children have spent the majority of their time within these walls, in your classrooms and under your care.
We have entrusted you with kids at the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of academic achievement and high academic need; we have had kids who participated mostly in the fine arts, some who have participated mostly in athletics and some who have participated in both. Some had nearly perfect attendance, some struggled to arrive on time and others were given tardies in the middle of the day because they were too social in the hallways.
But all of them, with their diverse talents, personalities and needs found a home and thrived at Eastview High School. Each of them was prepared for their next step in life and has continued to achieve at a high level, having been nurtured and grounded in the high expectations of this special place. We have had the honor and privilege of knowing many of you, but even many of you that we do not know well, have had a significant impact on our kids’ lives.
I’m not sure how many of you are aware that our son Tyler was the first person with Down syndrome to ever attend EVHS. Today it might seem commonplace to see an individual with Down syndrome roaming the hallways of Eastview, but back then there was no special education program housed at Eastview and Tyler was the first to come to Eastview in full inclusion. We always knew that we wanted Tyler to go to the same school as his siblings and when we saw the puzzle pieces of EVHS with the “Inclusive Community” piece, we dreamed that it was possible. Eastview did not disappoint. You opened your arms and your hearts to Tyler and made a family’s dream for their son a reality, as you helped him to reach his full potential alongside his typical peers.
We have had the incredible fortune to have kids in Eastview’s amazing choirs and participate in Bravo. We had the distinct honor of being involved with the football program in which the coaches gave as much time and care and attention to our son who was all-conference as they did to our son who filled water bottles and cheered from the sidelines. One of our sons had the incredible experience of going to the state hockey tournament and has been part of a state tournament-winning baseball program with great leadership and coaching. One of our sons was able to participate in the Flash and three of our children benefitted from the unique experience offered by the DP program.
All of our children had caring, inspirational, motivating, compassionate and passionate teachers who challenged them to learn and grow and stretch in new ways and to question and critically analyze.
And you taught them values outside the classroom also, with your leadership and by your example. It’s no accident that our son with Down syndrome was so fully accepted by the students of Eastview High School; they were simply following the example set by the teachers, administrators and staff of EVHS who model such accepting and inclusive behavior every day.
As parents we have always felt welcomed at Eastview as well and we thank you for that. We were always treated as collaborators in this great adventure of educating our kids and you gave us many opportunities to volunteer and feel part of the Eastview community. Allowing us to be involved and have a voice, and welcoming us as partners in our children’s educational experience has been a gift to us and has made it a richer experience for our entire family.
As our youngest graduated from Eastview on Saturday, our hearts swelled with pride in light of his accomplishments, but our eyes were also filled with tears and our hearts with gratitude for the incredible work you do here and for the way you have positively impacted our children’s lives.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all that you have done for our children. Know that your long hours and tireless dedication to your students is both appreciated and fruitful. You are planting seeds that take root in communities all over this country and flower into leaders and world-changers. Your work is valuable and worthy of praise and recognition. Thanks for 12 great years.
Kris Cropsey, on behalf of the entire Cropsey family.