Brookfield school Supt. Toby Gibson said it’s been a “crazy couple of years” for the district.
The COVID-19 pandemic, the lawsuit over the condition of the Brookfield Middle School and subsequent remediation project and the transforming of the district into a technology hub have all contributed to the craziness, he said.
It’s also been a crazy time for the Brookfield Optimist Club. Like many service clubs, it has lost members, seen its remaining members age and had trouble attracting new members. The club hoped to re-emerge from a period of little activity on April 20 with a tour of the school and invitation to the public to see what the school has to offer, and learn about the club.
However, those hopes were dashed when only long-time members James Hoffman III and Jay Hearn showed up, something Hoffman said was embarrassing.
Gibson, who was missing his daughter’s softball game, soldiered on without complaint, showing off the Maker Space, Robotics and Industry 4.0 labs and wood shop. He noted the good the club has done for the school district over the years, and offered a second tour if the club can rally a few more people for one, and to use the school’s social media platform to promote club activities.
“Any way that we can help,” Gibson said.
The club is known for its annual essay contest for high school students, scholarship for a graduating senior and participation in other community events, but is down to a handful of members. The club needs younger members, and Hearn said his definition of “younger” includes people in their 50s.
“We can’t have four or five guys and really do much,” Hoffman said.
“We’re struggling, but we’ll keep trying,” he said. “You gotta be optimistic.”