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Editorial: Community involvement is important

A few weeks ago we talked in this space about the high quality of students in Farmington schools. But it's worth noting that it takes more than students and paid staff these days to keep a school running smoothly. As budgets shrink schools have come to rely more and more on the help of individuals and groups from outside the school walls.

In Farmington, the volunteers haven't let them down.

One example of that community support, featured this week on our front page, comes at Farmington High School, where the Rotary Club of Farmington has made a habit of reaching out to students who need a little extra motivation to reach their full potential.

The Farmington Rotary's STRIVE program has filled that gap admirably. Just ask Nick Patton, a 2010 FHS graduate who took time from his schedule last week to talk to a new group of STRIVE recruits about the difference the program made in his life. For Patton, STRIVE made the difference between graduating and giving up. Today he's at Inver Hills Community College taking care of his general requirements. He plans to transfer to a four-year school when he is done there. He'd like to study economics.

There are plenty of stories like that in STRIVE -- the name is an acronym for Students Taking Renewed Interest Valuing Education. Students who never thought about much beyond the day they would be done with high school start thinking about their future. About college. About making something more of themselves. The program fills an important gap at FHS, reaching out to students who have potential but lack motivation.

The examples of the community lending a hand don't stop there, of course. There are parents in classrooms and elsewhere behind the scenes helping to ensure school days run smoothly.

That kind of involvement is good for a few reasons. For one, it provides some much needed assistance in the schools. For another, it connects the schools to the community they serve.

Not all efforts are as big or as ambitious as STRIVE, but they are all important. And they will only become important in the years to come.