The Voyage of the Eagle
A Time of Reflection
"Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, and a civilization work." 
Vince Lombardi

Thanksgiving for me is always a time of reflection. Although gratitude is a good practice on a daily basis, it especially brings to focus our life's priorities during this annual holiday celebration. Spending time with our families and friends reminds us of the 'gift of life' and the 'gift of love' for which we are so grateful.
That precious gift was taken from many innocent lives on November 13th, just a few weeks ago, when the world was shocked by the cowardly and senseless acts of terrorism in Paris.  One brave survivor, Isobel, stated, "As much as the terror and the anguish that was in that room, there was a lot of love. There was a lot of positivity in such a tragic, tragic place." The terrorists, she was determined, would not win. Isobel proclaimed, "I didn't want them to have their horrible actions determine the end of my life. I wanted the people that I loved to win - to know that they blessed me with an incredible life... that I left saying I love you."
This horrific event brought into focus the dangers we face as Americans and as citizens of the world, and how these events impact our students here at Clayton Valley.
Through social media and the Internet, our students are constantly bombarded by global catastrophes and acts resulting in mayhem, violence and panic.  And yet their lives go on. They leave their homes every day to attend school.  Youth athletic events, drama and musical performances, and after-school activities continue. And they should.  The challenge, however, is helping our students cope with these horrific events - ones that impact their view of our world.
We can ill-afford to allow our students to form misperceptions based upon the hateful, destructive acts of a few. It is our responsibility, as educators and parents, to teach values of tolerance and understanding towards those who are different.
When students learn about other people and cultures, it helps them understand and feel engaged in their world.  Growing interest in how other people live, their norms and values, religions, politics, cultures and languages helps them see the beauty of the world. And yes, they also gain appreciation of the differences and similarities in how we all live.

We must overcome fear and anxiety caused by the violence around us and a world apart. We must show our empathy for others as we maintain our respect for the rights of individuals.  To this end, we must teach our students about the fundamental values that have made America great. The values expressed in our Constitution and Bill of Rights make it quite clear that "We the People" have inalienable rights, but with those rights, come the responsibility to respect each other's personal liberties and differences.
Here at Clayton Valley, we focus those differences as strengths in our emphasis on teamwork. This semester has provided many positive examples of our students' achievements through teamwork.
  • Clayton Valley Arts Academy students worked in groups to create "hotels" from around the world. Our multi-use room was transformed into an amazing global marketplace filled with diverse sounds, tastes, and imagery.
  • Clayton Valley Charter's Marching Band finished third at the 38th Annual Grape Bowl Classic Band Review competing together with 40 bands from throughout Northern California and Nevada at this prestigious event held every year in Lodi.
  • Our talented Improv Team hosted their annual three-day Follies cabaret-style talent show featuring members of our drama, choir, band and dance students working together to raise money for the performing arts.
  • Using great pack running, our 5th ranked boys cross country team pulled off a stunning Division II upset and qualified for the California State Championships. They outperformed our greatest expectations and took 18th place. It was their first trip to the championships since 2002, following their first league championship in twenty-one years.
As we enter the Holiday Season, each one of us are encouraged to embrace our differences while respecting our individual liberties. We have much to be thankful here at Clayton Valley and much to learn as individuals by making the commitment to work together as a team. As we close out 2015 and enter a new year, my prayer for our Clayton Valley community and the world is to seek unity. My wish for the Holiday Season is for "Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All Men..."
Peace Be With You,
David Linzey
Executive Director