You need a network. Or a village. Both terms apply.
This spring, more than 900 young people are graduating from high schools in Vigo County. Booker T. Washington Alternative School and Vigo Virtual Success Academy opened on Friday night. Terre Haute Nord, Terre Haute Sud and West Vigo high schools will do the same on Sunday, June 5. Thousands of educators have led them to this milestone.
Many graduates started school as kindergartens in elementary schools at Vigo County School Corp. in the fall of 2009. About 75 teachers then guided these young people.
A year later, they started primary classes from grades 1 to 5. 420 other teachers occupied these elementary classes.
College came next. Over 200 teachers taught them from grades 6 to 8.
Finally, they entered high school, where 300 teachers guided the teenagers through the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades.
A district-wide team of nearly 1,000 teachers guided learning for the Class of 2022. Educators scheduled lessons over lunch, responded to parent emails after dinner at home, listened to student problems, graded homework during their own children’s basketball games. and taught their classes.
More than 1,000 additional people – from principals to counsellors, deans, library specialists, teaching assistants, school bus drivers, cafeteria staff and maintenance workers – provided scheduling, organization, discipline, guidance, tutoring, transportation, hot meals, clean floors and more.
The VCSC honored 75 employees retiring earlier this month during a dinner at the Meadows Banquet and Conference Center. Winners included teachers, administrators and support staff. Many had served in their roles for two, three and even four decades. A teacher was finishing her 46th year in class.
All of these more than 2,000 school district crew members have faced the unprecedented situations that have unfolded during the course of the Class of 2022, K-12, accelerated and ever-changing standardized tests to active-fire exercises – with their necessity made painfully clear this week – and a myriad of precautions against the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to their usual duties.
Superintendent Rob Haworth thanked them for all their long days of preparing, caring, caring, encouraging and educating the young Counties of Vigo at different stages of their schooling. Every action in every class at every grade level was a springboard for these more than 900 seniors on the verge of graduating from high school. “You turned that on,” Haworth told VCSC employees. He added that longtime staff members had also facilitated the same progress for dozens and dozens of previous promotions.
The future retirees gathered at the May 16 dinner ceremony totaled 1,351 years of service to education, the evening’s emcee – Michael Cox, director of social services at VCSC, told the audience. “Think of the number of lives you’ve touched,” Cox said.
Their last day in the classroom, the office, the school bus driver’s seat, and the cafeteria feed line was Friday. The job of helping to educate children has certainly become more difficult – with more responsibilities and expectations – during their tenure. The rewarding part, beyond paychecks and benefits, came as students learned, grew, and progressed. Retiring teachers, administrators, and support staff can enter this new chapter in their lives knowing that their efforts have benefited their students, students’ families, and this community. Well done.