April 17 letter to the community and staff


“Ubuntu” – try and say it……oo-boon-too…..use the oo sound as in the word ‘boo’.

Having originated in South Africa, “Ubuntu” is a word that is funny to look at, as it has no other vowels other than the 3 u’s, and is cool to say. For all of its sizzle though, the word conveys a powerful message.

“Ubuntu” essentially means “humanity” and often translates as “I am, because you are” or “humanity towards others.” It’s really all about togetherness and how our actions impact others.

A word that started on another continent has effectively spread around the world and into various cultures. Commencement speakers have championed it, politicians have embraced it, and even sports teams have adopted it – case in point being the 2008 NBA champion Boston Celtics who chanted “Ubuntu” when they broke a huddle.

The concept of Ubuntu is also alive and well in Weedsport. Since this pandemic began (and even before), I see signs of it daily with our staff, teachers, and community.

Members of our staff have stayed on to deliver food to our students and have also given generous donations to the Weedsport food pantry. Our teachers are also working diligently to deliver instruction digitally and make sure that our students stay sharp and up to speed on their education. And that’s on top of taking care of their own families.

Our local community has also stepped up to help the greater good. Arby’s donated food to our students last week, and next week, Dunkin’ will donate doughnuts to the students on our food routes.

I’ve said before that if there’s a silver lining to any of this, everyone in our community is playing a part, regardless of how small they may think it is. Whether it’s donating food, helping educate a child, or just participating in social distancing, they are making a difference.

Ubuntu means we all have a part to play and it’s imperative that our actions help others to want to strengthen our community. Because a strong community means we are stronger and all of our futures will be brighter.


Shaun A. O’Connor
Superintendent of Schools