This week, teachers at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School opened their doors to students returning to school after the summer or starting their careers as students in Louisa County.
Across the country, this ritual has been or will be participated in by teachers and students, but it means something more to the teachers and students at TJES; it means something more to the school board; it means something more to the school administration; and it means something more to our county.
Thomas Jefferson is our first notice to the world that Louisa County was, in every way, shaken without being broken.
When the world began shaking on August 23, 2011 in Mineral, we were pretty poorly versed in the applicable meaning of words like “epicenter” and “magnitude,” but we soon learned.
Experts were quickly on scene, as were government officials who made evaluations and promises and prognostications while we began helping each other with cleaning up, shoring up foundations, and putting arms around shoulders while we wiped tears.
Teachers sacrificed time, students sacrificed weekends, citizens sacrificed a sense of normalcy, mobile campuses were opened, landmarks were lost—but Louisa has risen.
But, here’s the thing, it doesn’t necessarily matter that the rest of the world takes notice of what we’ve done in Louisa. What will matter, what many of us won’t get to see firsthand, but that I believe in as surely as the sun will rise in the east, is that a child will walk through the doors of the new Thomas Jefferson and stare at the beautiful new entrance of the beautiful new building that is his or her school. That right there is why Louisa County has rebuilt; not for the beacon on the hill, but for the kindling of a thousand fires that will light the future.
How many children will say they were among the first to attend the new TJ? The exact number will be available soon, but I have no doubt that, whatever it is, it will be equivalent to far more than a magnitude of 5.8. It’s a force which will be felt across the fabric of time, not just the firmament on which we stand.
The fact that Louisa faced an earthquake is inescapable. But everyone continues in the mission to create an earth-shaking reality of their own—generations of thinking, educated children who will be life-long learners, and who will encourage the same in others.
Now, the new TJES will stand as a house in which that mission can be carried forward. Yes, we have a high school to finish, and in moments when that seems insurmountable, let’s look to TJES and see just what we can do in Louisa.
Here’s to you, TJES!
I can’t wait to hear about the successes you’re going to have in your new building! You guys can ride shotgun with me anytime!
Submitted by Chuck Moss