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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Week set aside to say thanks to educators

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Sikeston kindergarten teachers Jennifer Cantrell and Corrie Gordon place a sign in a yard.
SIKESTON - Janet Boner still smiles when she thinks about her high school French teacher.

It was the fact that Kathleen Collongues genuinely cared about her students that Boner appreciated most.

"She sort of went the extra mile, actually took an interest in her students as people, not just as her 'job.' More specifically, she didn't give up on me even when I (and everyone around me) did," Boner recalled.

It's educators like this who make a difference in young people's lives, giving teachers a vital role to play in helping students succeed and believe in themselves.

And American Education Week, Nov. 17-23, is the perfect time to say thank you.

The theme for American Education Week 2002 is "Making Public Schools Great for Every Child," a statement that reflects the cooperation and dedication of the education staff, parents, community members and business people involved in helping students achieve.

Mark David Blanton Jr. said what makes his third-grade teacher his favorite is the encouragement he provides.

"He says 'good job' and gives me candy when I make a 100 on my test," he explained. "If I was going to grade him I'd give him an A+. If I was going to write him a thank-you letter I would say he's a very good teacher and I might give him $20."

He's not so sure all students realize how hard teachers work and how important they are, but he said he certainly does. "Teachers are important because without them you wouldn't be there and my mom wouldn't be at work and my dad wouldn't be at the law office."

"Teachers are pretty important," agreed 10-year-old Kali Brooks. "It's important to have an education because when you grow up you need it to get a job."

Although the fifth-grader had a difficult time choosing just one, she finally named Sharon Smith as her favorite teacher.

"She explains the work and she does fun things," Kali said. "I thank her for being understanding and patient and nice. I'd tell someone who was going to have her next year that she is a good teacher and you'll learn a lot from her."

Of all the teachers he's had so far, 15-year-old Garrett Kelly said without a doubt it was his third-grade teacher who stands out the most, Sharon Moran. His reasoning was simple but echoes many students. "She was nice and she took time for me," he said. "To me, a good teacher is one who makes learning fun."

If given the opportunity, Karen Schnurbusch would tell her favorite teacher how much she learned from him.

It was later in life when she had Dr. Mueller as an instructor at vet tech school. She described him as an old-time vet who taught her compassion, humor and the importance of being yourself both at work and in everyday life.

"He had so many good stories to tell," Schnurbusch said with a smile. "He had done a lot of things. He was a practicing vet, worked as a vet in a laboratory and was a teacher in the vet tech school. I had him for two years and he was genuinely a nice guy.

"I remember the first thing he taught me in our equine class. He said there's one thing you have to learn, how fast you can run and where the gate is," she chuckled, still remembering his words.