Reflections from the 2014 Community Service Day

By Dana McCauley


We have all heard the saying, “Principals wear many hats.” Any principal can rattle off a list of the hats we wear every day but never dreamed we would. Just when I thought I could list them all, though, an opportunity like NAESP’s Community Service Day teaches me about more roles principals tackle.

On July 9, 2014, I joined about 100 principals from around the country to build a playground at Inglewood Elementary, demonstrating skills that aren’t usually required for principals. That morning, we converged at the school, located in the eastern part of Nashville. Clad in our bright yellow shirts, we joined together to refurbish playground equipment and assemble new structures. We took turns using a jackhammer, operating a cement mixer, painting, shoveling, raking, and assembling new equipment.

We worked side by side with Inglewood’s principal, Carrie Mickle, several teachers, and staff from NAESP and Landscape Structures. After our hard work, Inglewood students entertained us with an amazing dance performance that had all 100 tired volunteers on their feet in appreciation. We were treated to lunch, thanked countless times, and even handed gift bags.

Artist and writer Ashleigh Brilliant once said, “Not being able to do everything is no excuse for not doing everything you can.” Our team of volunteers walked away from Inglewood knowing that by pulling together and doing what we could, students for years to come will be able to play, exercise, and enjoy this new playground together.

But, truly, the pleasure was ours.

Dana McCauley is principal of Crellin Elementary School in Oakland, Maryland.

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