Helping others find their path

Published 9:48 am Thursday, July 2, 2015

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” 

— Ralph Waldo Emerson


I have a new position in the district this year, and one of the great things about that is that I have the opportunity to meet new people.

I get to meet new people in the jobs  they are doing. I get to see how they work with other staff members, I get to see how they work with our students. I learn how they work with our families.

What a great opportunity this has been for me.

I am the director of Pathfinders, our Adult/Alternative Education Program. It has been quite a learning experience for me. But what I learned the most, I learned from the students and the staff that I worked with.

I have watched in awe as a member of the Dowagiac School family, John Lehigh, has worked diligently to facilitate the learning of some of our students here at Pathfinders.

John has been instrumental in not only in enrolling students but also in assisting them in the classroom, making sure that lessons are understood,  questions are answered and progress is made.

I have sat back most of this year and watched quietly as he has worked with a group of students who want to learn, but whose learning at times remains a struggle. John never gives up on them; he is forever their cheerleader, passionate about their ability, and committed to their education.

I have asked, “How long has John been in the district?”

People smile and say, “forever.” I’m not sure really what that means.

I ask, “What has he done?”

They report, “Everything!”

This is what I do know. It is important to him that all students have an opportunity to be successful.

John also believes that students who have someone in their corner cheering for them will be more successful, which is why he’s John the cheerleader.

He also believes in leveling the playing field for all students. He knows that life is not always fair, so he helps with the things that he can.

Pathfinders is a better place with John here working with our students. So has been Dowagiac.


— Sara Park, Director of 

Adult/Alternative Education