Driving down Harwood Road in South Euclid you might notice a tidy Colonial with soccer goals in the front yard. Tom and Joellen Denk have lived in their charming South Euclid home since marrying in 2003. “When we purchased our home in South Euclid, we heard a lot of supportive comments about the neighborhood and our ‘starter’ home. As we settled in and our priorities became clear, we felt we could remove the ‘starter’ tag from our home,” explained Tom.
The Denks’ commitment to the South Euclid community extends to SEL Schools, where their two sons, who are 8 and 6, attend Rowland School. Tom explained the family’s decision to use SEL Schools: “We attended an Open House in the spring before our first son attended Kindergarten. We found the K-3 program very organized, with appropriate class sizes, aides, and support staff. Our oldest son is gifted and his teachers identified some action plans that would keep him engaged. Our neighbor’s children went through the District and we heard positives about their experiences. Joellen teaches at a neighboring district. Our sons’ education is a priority and we feel they are in capable hands”.
Tom shares many other parents’ frustrations about the negative information that sometimes circulates about the schools. “I think people would be wise to visit the schools and talk to parents to gather first-hand information and dialog about what’s happening now, not rely on chat-room scuttlebutt. For instance, our babysitter is on the Brush High School award-winning Robotics Team. Motivated students with engaged parents have a great opportunity in this district.”
The Denks are also aware of the fact that some families decide to move away from what they perceive is a “starter home” community. “We’ll own our home soon. We know our neighbors, our sons’ teachers and their principal. Our neighbors look out for each other. You may see our family walking our dog, visiting the new library, or taking care of our community garden plot. There are opportunities to volunteer here. I coach Little League and the parents and children are wonderful. My wife and I grew up in different cities, and we both recalled playing with other kids from the neighborhood. Our children get to do that now. They can ride their bikes down the sidewalk to see their friends. Raising a family can take up what’s left of my free time. Time is the only non-renewable commodity and I’m not wasting it on long daily commutes. Now, thirteen years later, I’m not worrying if I made the right choice or if I need to move.”