Our community prides itself on our educational excellence and the opportunities for students to learn and grow.

As distance learning wraps up this month for the school year, I know the One Olentangy spirit is strong in all that we do. I could not be more proud of our students, parents, and staff as we navigate new territory.

A great deal of inspiration is needed to overcome a generation-defining event such as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and I find it in many places throughout our community.

I am inspired by the work of our school board and leadership team as they continue to set the direction to move us forward.

I am inspired by the countless stories of our staff as they rise to the challenge and shift their instruction to facilitate maximum learning for every student.

I am inspired by our food-service team as they rise to the challenge to prepare thousands of meals and our transportation team members who deliver those meals.

I am inspired by my wife, a fifth-grade teacher, who, like so many other staff members, misses her students more than they will ever know.

Finally, I am inspired by all of you -- students, parents, staff and community members -- who continue to rise to the challenge, sharing positive messages of hope.

These times are unprecedented. Worries are plentiful and answers are few and far between.

If you told me at the start of this school year that we would spend several weeks providing distance learning for 22,000 students in 25 buildings spanning 13 grades, I would have shaken my head in disbelief, but then quickly would have added, "I know we could accomplish this together as a community."

And that is what we are doing. We are making this work. With only a few days to figure it out, our collective community made it happen.

I know it's not easy to work from home -- parents and teachers alike -- with our children close at hand, and I understand the pressure to make sure our children's needs are met.

I encourage all of us to go easy on ourselves and others. This won't be perfect. But in the end, what will be remembered from this time is not so much what was learned but how we felt and the experiences we had.

Practice grace, take a deep breath and give yourself a break -- whether you are a student, a parent, a teacher, an administrator, a staff member or you wear several of those hats.

It's going to be OK. We are going to make it through and come away from this experience a bit better, because we are in this together.

Mark Raiff is superintendent of Olentangy Schools.