This holiday time of the year for most of us is a time to take time from work, focus on our family and friends. In this magical time, it is important to remember that everyone is our neighbor, no matter what race, creed or color. The need to look after our fellow human beings is far more important than any cultural or religious differences. I believe tolerance and fairness remain strong American values and have been the corner stone of country and will continue to be in the future. It was for this reason that I particularly would like to share a story with you. I recently asked a foreign customer what the best part of his visit had been. He said travelling on the subway in New York City. I was, as you can imagine, somewhat surprised, particularly since I had taken him to some of the great attractions of the city. So I asked what he meant? Because, he replied, I boarded the train just as the schools were coming out. At each stop children were getting on and off - they were of every ethnic and religious background, some with scarves or turbans, some talking quietly, others playing and occasionally misbehaving together, completely at ease and trusting one another. How lucky you are, said the visitor, to live in a country where your children can grow up this way. I hope they will be allowed to enjoy this happy companionship for the rest of their lives. So ladies and gentlemen, the BOE and I wish you all a peaceful holiday and very Happy New Year full of Joy and prosperity. Dr. Michael DiGeronimo, president’ Monroe-Woodbury School Board Dr. DiGeronimo originally delivered these remarks at the M-W School Board meeting in early December.