The little school with big hearts

Published 9:48 am Thursday, March 3, 2016

Brandywine has always been a small, caring community. Way back in the beginning of the district, ordinary, common people came forward and took the time and did the hard work to make sure this district was created. I’ve always said they were a group of ordinary people who did an extraordinary thing.

Since that time, generations of Bobcats have pitched in to take care of the school and each other. This was all demonstrated so much this winter with all that the community did to help some of its members.

On Dec. 20, 2015, Middle School teacher Steve Miller lost his battle with cancer. On February 20, the Brandywine Girls hosted Lakeshore in a basketball game and both communities stepped up and donated to Steve’s family. In addition, our Brandywine Improvement Foundation has received more than $1,500 in memory of Steve.

Assistant girls’ basketball coach Pat Touhey’s brother, Kevin, was stricken with a form of blood cancer. Sadly, he passed away on Feb. 29, after a brave struggle. On Jan. 15, supportive members of our community contributed to Kevin’s expenses as he received treatment.

Every year, during Coaches vs. Cancer Week, our Brandywine Community gives to the Brian Parker Cancer Foundation. Proceeds from this year’s boys’ and girls’ games amounted to nearly $4,000. This local Niles charitable fund has been active fighting cancer for 34 years.

Marcia Stratton, the wife of our athletic director, Vance Stratton, recently was diagnosed with cancer too. She has been unable to work due to the treatments. Once again, on Feb. 5, the generous and caring folks of Brandywine gave to help with her expenses.

So, the people of this little school district showed a whole lot about just how much they care for each other.

In just a few months, they gave $18,152 in all to help people who truly needed it.

It’s been said that it’s not the size of a bank account, or how big someone’s house is, or what kind of car they drive that measures their true worth—instead, it’s the size of their heart. And, the Brandywine Community has a huge heart.

It’s truly a little school with a big heart. As long as that one big heart beats together, there will always be a Brandywine!


John Jarpe is the superintendent of Brandywine Community Schools. He can be reached at (269) 684-7150.