We all know that Grand Haven is an amazing place – but how often do we take the time to think about the reasons why?

I’m celebrating five years of living and working in this wonderful community, and I’ve already accumulated countless reasons. Here are just a few:

— We had a desire for safer athletic equipment, but the expense was far outside our budget. A generous community member and local business owner came forward with a large donation to support us, and he doesn’t even have a child in the sport.

— We were able to offset student lunch balances because a local restaurant offered to hold a fundraiser – an offer we receive from a different community business nearly every year!

— The catwalk project and its relighting was a shining example of how a community can gather together and support an incredible initiative.

The list goes on. In fact, I believe it’s added to daily.

I’ll admit, I moved here in large part to be near to Lake Michigan, but my reason for staying goes far beyond perfect beaches and our salt-free slice of heaven. It rests solely in the soul of our community.

Please don’t get me wrong – I am not simply looking through rose-colored glasses. I see the issues we struggle with, both in our schools and throughout our community. But I am thankful to be at the table with the people addressing those issues, learning from their experience and history.

We have an incredible capacity to work together for the good of everyone who touches our community, whether they touch it for a day or for a lifetime.

Our community is built on solutions and support, coming together to solve issues that are important for achieving a bright future. I’ve had many conversations with friends and colleagues from other areas, and they notice something special happening here in Grand Haven. They urge us to continue pressing forward, doing great things and being a shining light for those around us.

Who we are and what we have – and will build – did not happen by accident, but rather by purpose, intention and great leadership. It is imperative that we continue to honor that history. Grand Haven is strong, and together, we will continue to accomplish amazing things. Our children are depending on it!

About the writer: Andy Ingall is the superintendent of Grand Haven Area Public Schools.

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