My thoughts this week are on two great human beings who can serve as examples to us: Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King and recently retired Beechwood teacher Ms. Kelly Buehner. On the surface these two may appear to have little in common. Dr. King was known for his inspirational speeches given to large audiences while Ms. Buehner is soft-spoken and uncomfortable in the spotlight. Dr. King was an internationally recognized historical figure while Ms. Buehner was known to a privileged few and content to work behind the scenes here at Beechwood. Upon further examination, however, we can see that Ms. Buehner and Dr. King share two of the most admirable characteristics a person can possess.
The first is the belief that serving others is the most important thing we can do while we are on this Earth. Like Dr. King, Kelly Buehner has displayed this virtue the entire time I have known her. For well over 20 years as the coordinator of our Academic Support Department, she spent countless hours patiently helping students who were struggling to succeed in school. Through her tireless efforts she made a difference for so many Beechwood students. As she goes into retirement, she can feel proud that she served this community and upheld the values of Beechwood School as few have ever done.
The second quality that these two exemplary people share is courage. Just as Dr. King encountered obstacles in accomplishing his goals, so too did Ms. Buehner. Sometimes families had difficulty accepting what she was sharing with them about their children. Sometimes students resisted her help and acted out due to their own frustrations. Often the school district resisted providing services that our students needed. For the last few months she has faced challenges with her own health. Through it all, she relentlessly pushed forward because she believed that every child deserved to have a quality education.
On Monday, we will take a day off of school and work to recognize the great Dr. Martin Luther King. I hope that you will take some time with your children to talk with them about why he is considered to be such an important person in our nation’s history and in our ongoing struggle to achieve equality for our diverse population. I hope that you will also take a moment to remember Ms. Kelly Buehner who leaves behind a legacy of love and kindness at Beechwood that cannot be replaced. If all of us can be just a little bit more like her, we will be further along the way to making Dr. King’s “dream” a reality.