Our Work, Part 1

The estimated reading time for this post is 3 minutes

(previously distributed as Caldwell’s Reflection, a weekly reflection from principal of Spurgeon Intermediate, Stuart Caldwell. This is part 1. Read the other part here.)

Our work in a time of political turmoil,

  • “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • “If we put our trust in the common sense of common men and ‘with malice toward none and charity for all’ go forward on the great adventure of making political, economic and social democracy a practical reality, we shall not fail.” Henry A. Wallace
  • “As I would not be a slave, so would I not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.” Abraham Lincoln

Like many of you I find myself thinking about politics a lot lately. It’s hard to avoid this at the moment, right. You might be surprised to find out that my thinking has mostly centered on concern for our kids and families here at Spurgeon. How has the current political climate landed me on localized concern? Here is how:

Though I have been thinking about these things for some time, during the last presidential debate one of the candidates said, “We have 11 million undocumented people. They have 4 million American citizen children — 15 million people” …

“Half of all immigrants, undocumented immigrants in our country actually pay federal income tax.” I did not fact check these statistics as the actual numbers are less important than the larger theme.

My own family heritage has me as the son of immigrants to this country.

My family, on my father’s side, immigrated as poor Irish farmers in the 1800s. Their life here was hard when they first arrived.

However, as is the story of most who immigrate to the United States, they came here for a better life than they had in their homeland. They worked hard, like the families of our kids. I am now a good number of generations removed from my forefathers and in many ways my own parents.   My brothers and me have realized the dreams of our immigrant ancestors.

As I hope is apparent to all, I love our community (yes, “love” was used intentionally here). Quite a number of our kids come from circumstances not too dissimilar than those that I imagine my own ancestors experienced. Their parents landed in Santa Ana, some very recently, with hopes and dreams of a better life for their families than they had in countries, or communities, that they came from. The parents of our kids are hard working, caring, trusting and hopeful. They hope for their kids to have a better, easier life than they have. It seems to me that this is the common hope for parents. I know that it is my hope for my own kids.bike_Fotor

Yesterday morning I met a father of one of our 8th graders. He came to meet with me to discuss some challenges that his son was having at school (his boy had made some bad choices in one of his classes and we needed to help guide him to better choices). He was here with his son at 7:20 in the morning. He came on his bike. We talked about what his son had done and, more importantly, how we were going to work together to help him to correct the recent mistakes that he had made. After we had met this father wanted a few private moments with his son (I would have wanted the same in like circumstances). I went out front to greet kids coming to school. Several moments later this father came up to me with his bike. He humbly shared his thanks and then told me that he had a fourteen-mile bike ride to get to the factory where he works.

I am the one who is humbled here.

Again, our parents work hard to give their children lives that are better than their own. The fact that we get to play any role in helping them to realize that dream is awe-inspiring.



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Stuart Caldwell

Stuart Caldwell

Principal of Spurgeon Intermediate School in Santa Ana
Stuart Caldwell

Latest posts by Stuart Caldwell (see all)

Stuart Caldwell

Stuart Caldwell

Principal of Spurgeon Intermediate School in Santa Ana

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