BY JESSICA STEELEY
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Clarkston residents and educators kicked off the new school year last week with the Clarkston for Life well-being campaign.
“It was a dream of mine to bring these people together, and this event was just the start of some exciting conversations we will be having as a community,” said Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock in an email interview.
Attendees included Clarkston faculty and staff, township and village representatives, members of the Chamber of Commerce, Clarkston Coalition for Youth, Clarkston Optimists, Clarkston Foundation, Board of Education members, and many others, totaling nearly 1,000 participants.
Board of Education President Elizabeth Egan, a piano teacher, emphasized the continuation of learning and student growth.
“I want you to remember that learning is a lifelong endeavor, I did not start playing [piano] until I was 40,” Egan said, after demonstrating the difference between someone playing the piano for two weeks versus seven years.
Rock began Clarkston for Life to prioritize the social, emotional, physical and intellectual well-being of not only Clarkston kids, but the entire Clarkston community. This event served as a Clarkston for Life kick-off.
The full-day event included the screening of “Passion to Teach” with teachers-turned-filmmakers Bart Nourse and Sandria Parsons, facilitated breakout discussion sessions, and an interactive workshop on resilience, optimism, and gratitude with Positive Psychology expert Dr. Gabe Paoletti.
Paoletti is a part of the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center. He showed the audience methods to stay optimistic with positive thinking and he commended Clarkston for Life.
“This is a major red thread opportunity to connect the community,” Paoletti said of the initiative, referring to the “Red Thread Theory” Dr. Rock has adopted.
The theory states that once someone comes into your life and makes a significant impact, they are forever connected to you by a red thread.
Rock hopes Clarkston can be connected as a community focused on well-being to build partnerships, develop programs and expand the Clarkston for Life reach.
“Research shows that an individual’s well-being relates directly to a healthier life, achievements in school and in life, and stronger labor market success – all factors will work to benefit each resident of Clarkston as a whole, from birth throughout life,” Rock said. “We don’t just hope this initiative will help our community, we know it will because of the proven links that exist between well-being and positive outcomes.”
For more information and a list of future events, check “Clarkston for Life” on Facebook.