I have been connected to education in a number of ways all my life. I had positive experiences through my formative years. I have adopted Montello Elementary School, here in Lewiston, Maine, for 25 years and served two stints on the Maine State Board of Education. As with any business leader, I know that education is the fuel that runs our economy now and in the future. Education is also what makes all of us good citizens and members of a community.
I was once with the writer Stephen King at an event honoring Maine students a number of years ago. I asked him who made a difference in his life and he quickly mentioned a specific teacher who inspired him. At another event I asked Senator George Mitchell who made a difference in is life — again it was a teacher. The power of the profession is to inspire the best in all of us. Even those people we assume to be born with success went through the difficult lessons of life and were molded by parents, teachers, and coaches.
Events of the past few weeks have served as a powerful reminder of the importance of educators.
During the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, it was the principal and her staff who gave their lives to protect students. During the Oklahoma tornadoes, there are stories of the heroism of teachers covering students and teachers who comforted the children. I wonder just how I would react in such an emergency. It is good to know that those we entrust our children will do anything to enrich their minds and their lives.
National Teacher Appreciation Week was May 6 — 10th. Day-in and day-out, our nation of educators work to build citizens of and for the future. If you haven’t thanked a teacher, do so. It’s not too late. If you are a bright young person, consider making education your life’s work. It is truly rewarding!