My first day at this year’s national convention will be one that I will never forget. I was fortunate to be involved with NAESP’s service project. One hundred NAESP members loaded buses at 8 a.m. to head out to three schools and a park in New Orleans to help with a beautification project that the district has been trying to complete since Hurricane Katrina hit this community. 
When I arrived at my volunteer school, I was awestruck when the principal showed me the high water mark. He said that the water from that point on the wall to the street was five feet deep. I left a state that is battling flooding so this really hit home with me. 
My group worked to replace unattractive weeds with landscaping. When we left, there was new sod, trees and flower gardens that would make any school proud. I can’t begin to tell you how good it felt to be part of this group.
The work was hard but despite rain “soaking to the bone,” the group kept at it. Nothing was going to keep us from finishing the task. One of the gentlemen that worked for the company that had been hired to oversee the project told me that he was not looking forward to “babysitting” a bunch of principals. By the end of the day, we had earned his admiration. We worked so fast that they added a project at the end because we still had time left. 
I worked with people from all over the United States. One gal told me that elementary and middle school principals only know one speed and that speed is “GO”. There were times that I think we made the folks from the management company dizzy. They thought we should all sign up for another day’s worth of work.
I think I can speak for most of the group: We were drained by the end. And although we are looking forward to the regular routine of speakers and break-out sessions, this day will always be one that we will remember. Hopefully, the kids and patrons of those schools will be reminded each time they look at the beautiful scenery and landscaping that caring principals helped make it happen.
I applaud NAESP for working to set up this important service project. I can’t remember a time that I have been more proud to be a NAESP member.
I’ll be back with another report soon!

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re: Principals Proudly Give All to Serve NOLA Schools

What an honor to work with so many principals from throughout the US in these worthy community service projects. Thanks to all of you for helping make this a successful volunteer effort. I hope this is repeated in Houston 2010!