|Hudson's Gold Star Teacher of the Year Nancy Uden|
celebrates her selection with students.
|Agriculture teacher Dennis Deppe working with the next|
generation of farmers.
Our teachers toil and labor day after day, week after week, and month after month in service to their pupils. Always preparing them for the future, and in many cases not seeing or realizing the impact of their labor. Then as the years go by sometimes, conceivably wondering, what has become of them? And every once in awhile learning the surprising, or perhaps not so surprising answer to that question.
A happenstance meeting at the grocery store twenty years from now, or the random email from that child who drove you crazy because they couldn't sit still or keep their hands to themselves. They are getting married now and would love to see you at their wedding. The child who is in your classroom right now that looks just like their father, who when a student in your classroom couldn't stop talking about excavators. He now owns a construction company. What about that little girl who was in your kindergarten classroom? She now teaches across the hall from you.
Hopefully you all have had those experiences. If you haven't yet I believe that one day you will. The biggest thrill I have as an educator and former teacher is hearing from my students from so long ago and finding out what they have become. Recently I heard from a former student who, after finishing a successful career as a C-130 navigator in the Air Force is now in major seminary studying to become a Catholic priest. Frankly, with Nick I am not all that surprised he has been called to serve in this way, and my wife Ann and I are looking forward to his ordination. I have shared many stories of former students like Nick with you because of the pride I have in the milestones they reach in their lives. Indeed, I believe in some small way that I may have nurtured them along, recognized a passion, or sparked an interest.
It is not cliche or an overstatement that the future of our American way of life is dependent on the teachers that serve in our public schools. We have doctors, lawyers, construction workers, farmers, teachers, secretaries, politicians, and electricians because of teachers. Could it be the preservation and enlightenment of the Union is counting on the strength of our public school teachers? I think yes. Certainly the payoff isn't now. But it will be a generation or two from now when we learn 'What They Become' in the jobs, careers, and vocations of their choosing. Those students who are now being served by our teachers.
Thank you, teachers, for all your hard work, dedication, and effort this year. I promise, you have made a difference.