by: Canon Katie Churchwell
The first day of school was a blast! A small group of people met at the Cathedral before the sun was up to load up the yummy breakfast treats that people had dropped off prior to the breakfast- this included muffins, fruit salad, ham biscuit sandwiches, and gallons upon gallons of orange juice. When we included the coffee donated by the Starbucks on 4th St. North and 9th Ave. North is was a delicious spread.
By 7AM, we had over 14 Cathedral members at Campbell Park Elementary. We set up the food, cleaned off and set the tables, and got ready to say hello to the 140 teachers and staff members. Over the next hour, we greeted and prayed with people from all walks of life who had chosen to make a difference at Campbell Park. We listened to a teacher who was nervous on their first "first day of school" as a teacher as well as custodial staff who were excited to see students they had gotten to know over the years.
I was able to shake hands with just about everyone who came into the teacher's lounge, as well as go to the front of the school and meet parents dropping off their children. It was an emotional day for many, and it was a blessing to be there and bear witness to what God is doing in this school. The Cathedral was joined by a group of men- college professors, City Council members, local pastors, Brighthouse employees, and other professional men- who had gathered to welcome the students on their first day. This group of dedicated men joined the Cathedral in the teachers lounge after the first bell rang and teachers and students had begun their day of learning.
We shared our dreams for South St. Pete and schools like Campbell Park. We talked of a shared commitment to be present with and give support to these young people. And we held hands and prayed for strength, courage, and perseverance as we seek to be good neighbors.