Commentary – The bells toll for thee


Bells ringing hopefully remind us all of what is truly important in our schools. No, these are not the bells of the fifth round of a 10-round boxing match at the last School Board meeting. These are the bells that really matter and make a difference to us all.

As a teacher, parent, student or administrator, you hear these marvelous bells at least once every school day. These are the bells that hint to the middle schooler that woke up late, to run just a bit faster to get to class on time. These are the bells that tell the science teacher that it is time to start the cool new project that might make a big mess, but will be a lot of fun. These are the bells that ring as children run out into the playground and form into kickball teams for some well-deserved socializing. These are the bells that signal time for that pop quiz on calculus or Shakespeare. Most importantly, these are the bells that remind the teachers and staff of ACPS that they have accomplished another incredible day that will make a real difference in our childrens lives forever. 

The bells didnt seem to ring as loudly on Monday, Sept. 24, around ACPS. They didnt have that same punch that can wake any high school student from even the best of daydreams. There was something missing, and that absent feeling wasnt going to subside any time soon. 

It takes someone very extraordinary to remind us all what is important in our lives.  ACPS lost a very special person this past Sunday night. Nancy Sparks, the most recent principal of George Mason Elementary School, was taken from her family and friends way too soon. It is a sad day, and she will be missed dearly by the entire Alexandria community. 

Ms. Sparks stood for what was really important in our schools. There was never a day when Nancy wasnt available for our children and always looking out for each of them as individuals. When she walked the halls of George Mason, the children would connect with her and know they were safe and they always had someone looking out for them. Nancy reminds all of us that, no matter what side of the disagreement you are on, the real reason we are all in this is because we want what is best for our children. 

Of course, the school bells will continue to ring. Anyone who knew Nancy will miss her dearly. But as long as the bells continue to ring and we all focus on what is best for our children, we will be carrying on an amazing legacy of a remarkable person. 

It is important as we fight for what we think is right, that we keep perspective. When the school bells ring in Alexandria, hopefully they mean even more as we remember someone so dedicated and special. Nancy Sparks made a huge impact on many childrens lives, and the bells will continue to remind us of that every day.