DR. MARK PORTERIE — Get into the Christmas spirit with PAISD, special concert planned Saturday

Published 12:34 am Thursday, December 1, 2022

As we continue to celebrate the holiday season, the Port Arthur community has a unique opportunity to experience the creative sounds of the Symphony of Southeast Texas when they perform selections that will put us into the spirit of Christmas.

On Saturday/Dec. 3 at 7 p.m., in the auditorium of Woodrow Wilson Early College High School, 1500 Lakeshore Drive, come out and listen to the sounds of various instruments played by gifted musicians.

In addition, you will have an opportunity to hear the voice of Mr. Daniel Emmet, a finalist on “America’s Got Talent.” Emmet is best known for taking on the impossible challenge levied by Simon Cowell: to learn a brand new song–in Italian–in one hour and then perform it live on national television.

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This event is sponsored by Motiva and PAISD.

Daniel Emmet, who performed on “America’s Got Talent,” will join the Symphony of Southeast Texas in Port Arthur. (Courtesy photo)

A little over a week ago, family and friends got together to enjoy each other’s company, eat delicious food and enjoy some exciting football and basketball games.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. I would say that the focus of Thanksgiving is family.

As I watched the news and listened to my coworkers and friends gathered to celebrate, the conversation was focused on everyone getting back together again, face to face. There was not much talk about COVID and disinfecting; it was all about being with family and friends in a relaxed environment.

As we look back on the past three years, I wonder how many of us really understand how hard it was not to be able to comfortably be in the presence of extended family and friends. We were isolated for so long, and I don’t think that we will ever fully understand the effect it has had on all of us.

That brings to mind a devotional I read recently, “Enjoying Life.” The devotional was about King Solomon and everything the Lord allowed him to amass in his life. He was the wisest man who ever lived and had wealth beyond imagination.

He was blessed by God to build God’s temple. He indulged in the pleasures of the world, even dabbling in pursuits he knew were foolish. King Solomon had the wisdom and resources to accomplish whatever he chose to do. Yet, all of that brought no lasting satisfaction. He concluded the best course was to obey God.

I would think with all the experiences we have had over the past three years, we would sit and think about what is most valuable in our lives.

We can work and amass financial stability; we can receive accolades and move up the corporate ladder; we can have thousands of Facebook friends and Twitter followers; and we can even think that we are in control of our own destiny.

When we look at what is most important based on the past three years, I would think the simple things are what’s most important. The smiles on the faces of our children; the tight hugs given in moments of greetings; being able to sit down face to face with someone and talk–without bringing Lysol to the table.

Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most.

I used to hear my elders make comments like, “You can’t buy peace,” or “I don’t know if I’m coming or going.” As a young boy, I had no understanding of what those words meant.

Today, I not only understand, but I am using those terms myself. Peace is something that is priceless. We should never give up our peace and we should understand where our peace comes from.

In the end, it will not matter what we have done or how much money we have or how many buildings we have built. The only thing that will matter is what we have done to prepare for the final and eternal chapter of our life.

So, during this season, try to understand that it is not the price of the gift that matters; it is not how much the DOW has risen or what will happen with Twitter.

Make plans to create special memories and continue meaningful traditions with your family and friends this Christmas. We all know life is short but memories and traditions live on.

The only thing that matters is how many smiles and positive words we share face to face with people we love, and even more so with strangers. Something you say or do may change the life of someone who may be struggling right now.

It is up to each one of us to bring kindness, peace and solidarity to our world. If we accomplish that, we will have done what we needed to do to have meaning and purpose in our lives and to be meaningful and purposeful in the lives of others.

Dr. Mark Porterie is superintendent of schools for the Port Arthur Independent School District. He can be reached at mporterie@paisd.org.