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Teachers, school staff appreciated

It was once said that “Superheroes don’t always wear capes.” In the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic, no one has seized the opportunity to challenge themselves, learn new things, adapt to change and truly embrace and reach out to their students more than the heroic educators and staff at Waterford Elementary School. With teacher and staff appreciation weeks, it is more crucial than ever to value and thank these educational superheroes who truly go above and beyond the call of duty to meet the needs of the students in their school.

As the principal at Waterford Elementary School, it has been my privilege to witness the dedication, selflessness, and flexibility of my staff since the closing of our school on March 12, 2020. Every single member of our staff has risen to the occasion and worked together for the betterment of our student body and community. There have been superheroes emerge from every nook and cranny in our building:

Custodians, some putting their own health aside, to work tirelessly to disinfect desks and clean the entire building;

Secretaries coming into school on a moment’s notice to prepare letters home to families and scanning documents;

School cooks spending numerous hours preparing meals for our students with smiles on their faces;

School nurses always being willing to answer questions and help students and families in need;

Bus drivers volunteering time away from their families to help celebrate students;

And teachers and aides holding video conference upon video conference to support, love and meaningfully connect with students and their families.

In my many years in education, there has been no other experience to better demonstrate that there is no act of kindness, dedication or duty in an elementary school too small to be considered heroic.

To my staff, and to the many educators, aides, custodians, secretaries, cooks, nurses and bus drivers across the country, thank you. Thank you for always placing the needs of our students above your own. Thank you for showing love, courage, hard work and flexibility in a time that is all too uncertain and challenging. Thank you for being brave for your students and for embodying to me what it truly means to be a hero. You have risen to the occasion and you are most definitely appreciated.

Jana Thomas is the Waterford Elementary School principal.

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