Recently, our middle school students put on a short musical titled: "Pirates!" There were a number of things I noted about the performance that were impactful to me.

The first was the surprise vocals from some of our soloists who I didn't know were singers. The second was the fact that every one of our middle school students was part of the production, which is no easy feat for our teachers who led the production.

A few days before the performance, some of the students were complaining to me about how "dumb" and "stupid" they thought the musical was and that they were not going to perform it. I shared with the students that some things in life are not about us, but rather for the benefit of others.

This musical was an example of one such life learning opportunity. The greatest part of the musical was not the surprise talent I watched, but the collective effort from students who did not really feel like performing and the excellent musical they put on to the benefit of others.

Our students and staff are now enjoying a long winter break. It is a time of incredible excitement, but also a time of stress for some of our students and families.

The reality is that while this time of year is full of joy, presents, family fun and togetherness for many, it is not true for all. As is the case everywhere, there are children and families in crisis and the holidays seem to bring out some significant challenges for those in need.

In a move similar to our students doing something to benefit others, a group of parents from our school have come together to provide for some of our families with gifts and goodies to make the holidays a little brighter for others.

What a wonderful way to model to our kids the importance of giving to those who are less fortunate. I am not only proud of our students, but of our parents as well!

Part of our mission as a school is to help students engage in and give back to their community. This is a wonderful time of year to remind us all that being a giver really is the greatest gift of all.

On Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, our school will again participate in a number of activities designed to give back to our community. If you know of unmet needs or areas where our students and school can serve, please let us know. We would be happy to see how we can help out.

On behalf of the students, staff and board of the Crosslake Community School, I want to wish our community our very best during this wonderful time of year. Take time out and enjoy the season!