They were simple photographs, but the framing gave them something very special. An analogy of how students in Parchment have been an inspiration to a community that has faced deep struggles in recent times.

As a mix of rain and sunshine in just the right place created those perfect circumstances, a beautiful rainbow appeared in the early evening at Parchment High School. It could be seen in many places around Kalamazoo that day. But Cheryl Frazier had just started walking out of the athletic facility to pick up her daughter after a soccer game when she saw the rainbow. She was able to frame it in such a way that it displayed more than just an image. It looked like the colors in the sky were literally shining down on the school. And it made a clear connection to the pride of that school.

I was born and raised in Parchment and graduated in 1998. I was one of those students and know the deep pride the people have there, especially for their youth. The support for any activity my fellow classmates and I participated in was always overwhelming. The bond between the students and the community has always been tight and I don't think that has changed. In fact, I believe the challenges in recent years have strengthened that bond.

As the city has endured tough times for reasons that don't need to be mentioned again here, one of the consistent bright spots all along has been the students at Parchment schools who go above and beyond to showcase their pride and love for their community. So this is what I want to say to all of you...

Whether it's how you volunteered time in summer break during the worst moments of the crisis last summer, your involvement during Kindleberger Festival to enhance Parchment's premier annual event, your service through part-time jobs in town, or efforts through church and school programs, sports, music, theater and many other activities throughout the year, you always bring your best. Keep it up. The community appreciates it. You make everyone in Parchment proud because of your hearts and souls. And recently, it has made everyone feel a little better amidst the challenges. Thank you.

Parchment has some amazing young men and women and I want to wish all of you, as well as the great teachers there, the best heading into the 2019-2020 school year. Keep being a bright light in your community. Keeping showing everyone the bright future that is in store for the city of Parchment through your education, talents and actions.

Courtesy Cheryl Frazier