What’s good and what’s bad in a community is often easy to detect. Sometimes events and attitudes are not what they seem, but two examples from the past week are vivid examples of what makes Shelter Island a special place.
Islanders witnessed the best in their community with two public events, one real, live, in-the-flesh demonstration, and one in the virtual world.
The Shelter Island School parade was a delightful expression of what it means for an institution to go beyond happy-talk slogans and actually prove it’s a system of creative and caring people.
The faculty and staff, led by Superintendent of Schools Brian Doelger, Ed.D., took a nearly four-hour journey that passed every student’s house.
Photos give an idea of the joy and connection everyone felt, that the homebound students and families were being saluted for their efforts and commitment to learning.
It was as much fun as it was important, because the school’s faculty and staff know how difficult the school closure has been on students and families, and the stress that must be met and overcome each day.
The parade was a chance to make some noise, and that over-used phrase — which at times is meaningless through overuse and insincerity — “We’re all in this together” — was made real on nearly every Island street.
The virtual Memorial Day Services were a fitting tribute to those Islanders who died wearing the uniform of their country. It was a brilliantly produced accomplishment and credit should be given to many people, including Legion Commander Dave Clark and all the veterans and members of the Legion Auxiliary who participated.
But first and foremost, we salute Mary Ellen McGayhey, who worked many hours to research, photograph, shoot and edit video into a professional-grade, hour-long presentation. In many ways it was a bittersweet hour, with photos and videos of past Memorial Day celebrations inspiring memories of the somber and yet joyful time the parade has always represented.
The video produced smiles, as well as a realization of what we have lost because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, which has affected every aspect of our lives, personally and also our life within the community.
Hats off to those who have kept the faith in values that nourish us all, and for finding creative ways to keep those values alive.