by Jeff Wagner

Hello Loveland!  I love you and always have. I don’t usually get involved in politics because I don’t enjoy it.  I’m fine reactively engaging in political discussions when I don’t have a choice though. I’m truly moderate. I’ve voted for Democrats and Republicans in recent years. I have an extremely loving family that politically, in my opinion, is a great reflection of this still great country’s freedom. We disagree on politics, but still respect and love each other. I make suggestions to my now-adult children, who had the luxury of attending Loveland Schools in their recurring Glory Days. I suggest that they engage in politics only if it brings them joy, or if they are running candidates. Why? Because nothing matters but your vote. And because I’m not changing anyone else’s vote – and they’re not changing mine. 

Regarding Loveland Schools, they have seen better days. But in my opinion, there are also better days ahead!  Almost always are. The ebb and the flow. Big mistakes have been made though and residents are upset. Loveland needs to re-earn their trust. Hence, the bounce back will need to be gradual. 

Meanwhile, people are more emotional than ever in their lives. Not just in Loveland, but everywhere. Passion can be productive or counterproductive. And when it reveals itself in the form of ire, it’s almost always counterproductive. It’s usually most detrimental and hurtful when things get personal, and/or, far worse in this day of social media, public. Sadly today, that’s usually why we employ social media though. To hurt someone badly.

So, what’s my point?  Believe it or not, it’s to remind my fellow students what we all learned in one of the places we are “discussing.” Kindergarten. The Golden Rule is a philosophy for leading one’s life that suggests that other people should be treated fairly and with respect. Essentially, people act for the good of others, because they would like to be treated the same way. Too sappy these days? Not if you enjoyed reading it again for the first time in a long time like I did. I needed the reminder, too.

I recently learned my awesome next-door neighbor, Colette Boyko, who is courageously running for Loveland School Board, was publicly accused of some pretty nasty things. Simply put, this was an absolute calling for me to defend Colette publicly.  

Colette Boyko may be the most inclusive person I know, especially when it comes to kids. She does not judge people by their skin color or any identity they may have. Here’s why I know this to be true: Her “adopted” son, Anthony, who grew up next-door to us, is African American. And he’s a spectacular kid! Anthony is spectacular because of Colette and her loving family. 

Colette met Anthony in 1994 when she lived in an apartment in Walnut Hills. Anthony and many other children regularly visited Colette’s door asking to take out her garbage for $1. Over a three-year period, Colette befriended the kids, playing games with them, baking them cookies, and becoming friends with their families. They came to know Colette as “Coco,” and Anthony’s nickname was “Scooter.” 

Anthony’s mom had personal issues she was never able to overcome. So, Anthony would seek solace from the only parental presence who could provide it: Coco. And Colette has done so ever since. 

When he was young, Colette picked Anthony up from work several times a week. She even took him to Disney. She helped him get recommended for a Boys Hope program.  Anthony’s mom also assisted in getting Anthony into the program and he was accepted. 

Boys Hope gave Anthony a place to live during the week with great structure, healthy meals, and a catholic school education from middle school through high school. Colette took Anthony under her wing on weekends, holidays, and summer breaks.  He also spent time with his mom and siblings. 

When Colette met her husband, Matt, he also accepted Anthony into his life. When they were married, Anthony was in their wedding. When they moved next-door to my family and Anthony started high school, I became friends with Anthony, and we often played basketball together on my court. Anthony remained active in Boys Hope and continued to stay with the Boyko’s on weekends and holidays. 

The week Colette and Matt had their first child, Sky, they threw Anthony a 16th birthday party and made a room for him at their home. They helped him get a job and transported him to and from it. They helped get Anthony through college and made sure he had a good start including a car and supporting family. Colette’s children consider Anthony a brother.  Anthony now works in Ohio. And he loves his “adopted” mom, Coco, and family, the Boyko’s. I love the Boyko’s too, just like I love Loveland.

Simply put, I know Colette Boyko as a kind, loving and good person who at her very core treats people fairly and with respect. Colette wants the very best for Loveland Schools and our community.  She knows the bounce back in Loveland needs to be restrained but that it also requires a lot of work and a solid plan we can all support to get the pendulum heading back in the right direction: Our recurring Glory Days!

And although I don’t know the other candidates, I fervently support treating them, and ALL people, per the principles of The Golden Rule. After all, … we learned that in Kindergarten. 

GO TIGERS! 

Respectfully, Jeff Wagner

Jeff Wagner has lived in Riveroaks in Symmes Township for 18 years. He describes himself as a lover of God, Family, Loveland, The Cincinnati Bengals, German Shorthaired Pointers, and the iconic rock band RUSH!

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