Thanks to Trekkers for work at Havre schools

Editor,
 
I want to personally thank VMWare, Team4Tech and CoSN for selecting Havre as a Good Gigs Trek destination. As a precursor to the arrival of the Good Gigs Trek team, in early August, Havre Public Schools received a technology hardware package from VMware/Dell valued at $95,432.73 donated to the Havre Public Schools Education Foundation. In no way do I want to minimize this gift as the impact it will have from both a fiscal and technology perspective is beyond appreciated. This number does not come close to the final fiscal gift that Havre Public Schools received as a result of participating in this project. In the end, it was the time spent with the amazingly talented and fantastic individuals who arrived in Havre on Thursday August 9, that quite honestly is immeasurable.
 
It is hard to express the appreciation that I have for the Good Gigs Trek team and the talent that was so generously shared with our school district. Admittedly, I was somewhat skeptical and apprehensive about hosting the Good Gigs Trek team for nine consecutive days. It seemed somewhat overwhelming to consider how 15 people from six different countries would react to Havre, Montana, and our school district. My concern dissipated rapidly as it became readily apparent these individuals were here to immerse themselves in our school and our community. They were not here to save us, correct us or demonstrate all that they knew, but rather to share and fully engage with our staff, children and community.
 
I was able to glean enough information as to how the team members were selected from over 23,000 VMware employees to understand that the process for selecting the trekkers was quite purposeful. I do not fully understand the entirety of the process, at the same time, I would suggest that the visit to our school district should be more than enough evidence that it works. It was amazing to watch these individuals function as a team. Each of them so talented and uniquely gifted, yet so willing to share their gifts for the overall goal of the project. It was collaborative learning modeled at the highest functioning level I have ever witnessed.
 
I firmly believe that technology can be an equalizer for rural school districts and communities such as Havre. In spite of the geographic barriers, our students face we can connect and access knowledge that without technology would otherwise be beyond our grasp. The Good Gigs Trek if nothing else impressed upon me in an even greater way that technology is an instrument that should enhance our educational experience and learning journey. It is a means. It is a path. Ultimately, it is the relationships and personal interaction that makes learning meaningful and lasting. This amazing group of people consistently demonstrated this truth in every interaction they had with our staff, students, and community.
 
There are so many moments that I would love to share to support the great work that occurred over these nine days. For me it was especially gratifying to watch students, parents and staff enjoy the Tech Fun Day hosted at Havre High School on Saturday, Aug. 11. There were no grades given. There were no formal assessments. It was learning for learning’s sake. There was so much from that day that made me so proud to be a part of the Havre community and so grateful for having the opportunity to have this time with the individuals that I had only met for the first time two days earlier. That day really impressed upon me how special this time, with these folks, would be for Havre Public Schools.
 
To Dawn, Uta, Marisa, Gail, Hari, Kiran, Cory, Miriana, Fred, Ling Min, Chuck, Eduardo, Carolyn, Aashima, Keith (unable to make trip), Aditi (unable to make trip) and Marie, thank you for sharing your expertise and your experience with Havre Public schools. The Good Gigs Trek was a time of growth and learning for me personally. I so enjoyed our time together and hope these words somehow convey how much gratitude I feel for all you brought to Havre Public Schools. Be well and Go Blue Ponies.
 
Sincerely,
 
Andrew P. Carlson
 
Havre Public Schools
 
superintendent