I am sad…..and I am happy.
I am sad because I feel terrible for all of those who have been impacted globally from this crisis. I am sad because many people in the world have lost a loved one whom two months ago was in good health. I am sad that all of our nation’s healthcare workers, first responders, police and fire departments continue to place themselves in harm’s way, while the majority of us have the opportunity to hunker down and work in much safer environments. I am sad that not everyone is taking this pandemic as serious as they should be, and as a direct result, and without knowing it, are having a direct impact on those they do care about. I am sad because our athletic seasons are cancelled and all of the hopes and dreams for an amazing spring schedule were vaporized in one fluid motion. I am sad because the students from our agriculture club, our musical and theater students, our student athletes, and all other student clubs will not have the chance to perform in their various fields of play or competitions and to showcase the talents they have worked so very hard this year to master. My heart aches for you. I am sad because we don’t have the smiling faces of students such as Brooke Burcham, Ben Rakers, Justin Huff, Alex Huegen, Krista Stanford and all of our other students walking our halls. Your daily smiles have long been the fuel of my energy and drive. Miss you guys. I am sad that our thriving, beautiful campus sits empty, and the buzz of the entire college has slowed to one building, occupied by a dedicated skeleton crew. I am sad for these and many other reasons related to this nasty, dreadful virus.
However – I am happy.
I am happy to see how an amazing group of faculty and staff have pulled together and have continued to work together the past five days to deal with the daily, hourly and minute by minute changes that have occurred. I am happy to see some of our more technically sound faculty assist newer faculty in enhancing their online course shells. I am happy to see that the majority of our courses will continue online, with a few bumps along the way. I am happy to see our maintenance staff and IT crew continue to ensure the skeleton crew working here have the power and resources we need to deliver the power of our knowledge remotely. I am in awe of all of you. I am so humbled to work alongside you. I am happy to see some retail grocers dedicate time for the elderly to shop without having to worry about fighting panic driven crowds. I am happy to live in a country that is home to some of the most innovative and creative minds in the history of the world. I am happy to see all of my friends on social media offer to assist each other and offer to provide daycare for healthcare workers, prescription medicine pickup for those who can’t travel, and pick up grocery items for the elderly. I am happy to see such a unified message on social media from so many people to shop locally and to support our locally owned restaurants as they adapt to the dining ban and switch to curbside and pick up options. I am happy to see other area leaders use this moment to promote creativity and innovation, such as Central High School Superintendent Dr. Dustin Foutch, who has encouraged his students to take this time away from school to focus on their goals and to #imageinegreatness….kudos to you Dr. Foutch. You’re my kinda guy. I am happy to receive a “hang in there” email from several staff and students – many of you whom I have never had the pleasure to meet. Those encouraging and heartfelt words and emails will forever be etched in my mind as the individual horrors of this crisis elapse to the foggy memory of age. I am happy that someday I will be able to sit down and explain to my three year old twin children that for a moment in time, an entire school and the community that surrounds it came together to support each other, and during that time, politics and hate gave way to hope, innovation, creativity and kindness. While we are all witnessing a tragedy, we also have a ringside seat to humankind at its best.
In closing I am more happy than I am sad. I will not let this virus kill my spirit. These are tough times, but we will prevail. This will pass. We will continue to post informational updates and do our absolutely best to continue to serve you and to communicate with you - our students - to the best of our ability.
Because after all, we have never just been KC, we are not just KC now ……#WEAREKC.
Take Care and Talk to you Soon.
George M. Evans, MA
Kaskaskia College (Class of 2000)