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In celebration of Education Week

By Chris Quilpa

In celebration of American Education Week, Nov. 12-16, I’d like to thank all dedicated employees in public schools, especially my wife Freny, who has been teaching chemistry in one of the public high schools in Hampton Roads for two decades.

I thank my daughter, Christine, who was once a college adviser for two years in a public high school in Danville (after college at the University of Virginia), before becoming a nationally certified school counselor in the Augusta County Public Schools, after her two-year graduate school at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education.

Kudos to my son, Andrew, who was once a substitute teacher in Hampton Roads for one year, after college at the University of Virginia, before becoming an information technology instructor teaching basic computer skills to the underserved population in Washington, D.C. He has also entertained, and continues to entertain, his audience by sharing his theater knowledge, skills and experiences in schools, cultural centers and theaters.

Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of National Education Association, encourages educators and school communities to show their public school pride in celebration of American Education Week 2018, with this year’s theme: Reach. Educate. Inspire.

“Every day in schools all across the country, educators work to help our nation’s students learn, grow, and achieve. And every November since 1921, we celebrate American Education Week to recognize and honor all those who work together for students’ success,” Eskelsen Garcia said.

School administrators, teachers, school counselors, psychologists, nurses and librarians, and education support professionals like paraprofessionals or substitute teachers, bus drivers and cafeteria workers, coaches and volunteers are tasked with providing each student the opportunity to succeed in schools. All of the above individuals play a very important role in the overall educational experiences of all students.

In various capacities and positions, these unsung heroes and exemplary leaders in our community continue to make a difference in the public education of our youth who are America’s future leaders.

Most of us, I do believe, are a product of public schools. Yet, despite the dwindling school funding for public education (and the inability of a number of politicians or government officials to increase funding for public education, for whatever reasons), public schools continue to produce excellent graduates because of these men and women in our schools and communities who tirelessly and vigorously rally together in support of quality public education.

We all know that with proper funding, public education is a great equalizer to level the playing field in economic opportunity, progress and development of all Americans.

To our dedicated public school teachers, educators, administrators and staff personnel, and educational support personnel, generous parents, community leaders, security officers and school volunteers who support quality public education, kudos for a job well done, and more power to you all. May God bless you and your family always.

Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk. Email him at chris.a.quilpa@gmail.com.