During this holiday season, I would like to express my admiration of the character of the Dracut community. Over the past few months, I have been presented with a series of seemingly unconnected events that all share common themes: connectedness, commitment, and character.

In response to the contraction of the district's faculty and staff this past school year, parents and grandparents have stepped forward to support the teachers and children of Dracut. I have sat in kindergarten classrooms observing your mothers and grandmothers selflessly supporting the work that occurs in our classrooms.

Marie Beauregard was publicly recognized and honored in October for her 25 years of volunteer service to the children at the Brookside Elementary School. Marie is part of the Community Teamworks Incorporated's Foster Grandparent program. CTI has supported the schools through this program for almost three decades. Many retired community members have provided support over the years. Marie is just the most recently recognized volunteer.

Dracut High School was recently honored at Gillette Stadium with the presentation of a prestigious award for sportsmanship. Dracut High School was selected from a pool of over 60 school districts. It is a capstone event for the community. While recognizing the actions of our athletes on the field, the focus was the many acts of service both within and outside the community.

In November I attended the junior class semi-formal. Twenty-seven teachers volunteered their time to support the first formal event of the junior class's march towards graduation. All did so with good will and expressions of support for the students in their charge (who acted as ladies and gentlemen). Teachers regularly provide such efforts. This latest example, extending their work day into the early hours of a Saturday morning, was but one more manifestation of their dedication.

The district received an email from a Woburn parent who was effusive in her praise for the high school cheerleaders. The girls stepped up and encouraged a Woburn squad that had just witnessed one of their teammates dislocate an elbow during a competition. The reflexive, compassionate response of our high school girls demonstrates the character of Dracut's children.

These are only a few examples of how the parents, grandparents, students and teachers of Dracut regularly demonstrate acts of connectedness, commitment and character. In the face of such actions, I am thankful that I am able to bear witness to them.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

Steven Stone is superintendent of the Dracut public schools.