Don’t Let the Storms Get In


It feels a little surreal to be writing about storms as I look at the brown grass outside my window. Indianola has hardly had a drop of rain since the big storm ripped through Warren County earlier this summer. I guess I was in Kansas City for a Royals vs. Cubs rain delay not too long ago and was also caught in a brief downpour one balloon night, too, but we have not seen many storms.


Things are taking shape for a new school year, and students and staff alike are anxious to return and get back to work. There is something to be said for the more routine busyness of a school year after summer, which has its own kind of hustle and bustle. Most people aren’t sitting around dwelling on the weather, though, unless it’s to hope that a visit to the State Fair won’t coincide with a blistering hot day.


Inevitably, at some time during the school year, there will be challenges. This is true for students, staff, and families, regardless of age or role. At those times we need to remind ourselves that challenges are the things that help us grow, whether those challenges are academic, extracurricular, social, emotional, or vocational. Sometimes we just want a nice, boring, uneventful stretch; but we know that real opportunity lies in the midst of challenge.


Challenges can appear on the scene with suddenness and ferocity, just as storms can. Even in the age of Doppler radar, surprises occur, like the tornadoes that set down in Bondurant, Pella, and Marshalltown on July 20. Sometimes we see the very best of human nature on display during and after events like those storms. People extend a helping hand and share a caring word. Those impacted show a quiet confidence and a determination to move forward and rebuild.


As we begin a new school year, I hope we all commit to not letting the storms get in. We don’t have to let external pressures and challenging events rob us of our joy. The storms don’t define our purpose. Author Simon Sinek would urge us not to forget our “why.” For educators, this is the cause of helping students learn and grow. The Indianola Community School District’s mission confirms a commitment to “excellence and achieving a lifetime of success.” That determination keeps people who work in our schools going when it looks like storm clouds are gathering. We hope that our students and community get excited about the “proud traditions” and “unlimited possibilities” in Indianola, too. If we ever get tempted to focus on the storms or look at challenges in the wrong light, the many great things happening in our district help us refocus.


I want to wish everyone an outstanding school year. There will be some rain; we need that to grow. The wind will howl and the windows will shake at times. When they do, greet each other with a warm smile and don’t let the storm get in.


Superintendent Art Sathoff