Thank a Teacher


Each year, on May 3rd, our Nation celebrates National Teachers' Day, an opportunity to show appreciation to a favorite teacher.

Few professionals touch as many people as teachers do, year after year. Henry Adams noted that teachers affect eternity; they never know where their influence will stop. From spelling lessons to multiplication tables, from music and art classes, to gym and after-school sports, we carry these early experiences with us for life. Each lesson we learn serves to guide us in our chosen career paths and home life, forms us as parents and community leaders, and defines us as mentors and teachers ourselves for our children and succeeding generations.

Every day when teachers stand at the head of classrooms all across America, they are shaping the future of our Nation.

In southern West Virginia, it is right and appropriate that we take time to honor our local educators and acknowledge their crucial role in preparing and shaping young minds for the lifetime journey ahead.

I am a proud to be a staunch supporter of West Virginia's teachers and fighting for a high-quality education for West Virginia children. In a time of severe budget cutbacks, I continue to support legislation to fully fund education programs that benefit West Virginia students -- such as Head Start, No Child Left Behind, and the Individuals with Disabilities Act -- in order to provide local schools with more of the resources they need to provide our students with a top-notch education. I also continue to fight for student financial assistance, such as Pell grants, college work-study, and federally insured student loans, so that every hard-working student has an opportunity to go to college.

When I was in Logan County last week, I had the pleasure of meeting with "Team 337," the Logan County Robotics Team of high school students, who are participants in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Program in Logan County. The students demonstrated their Team's "StarBot" robot entry, which was built for the FIRST Program competitions, and will compete against teams from across our Nation and all over the world. The excitement and enthusiasm I saw in each of these young students was inspiring, and their team advisors -- their teachers -- deserve much credit.

Many teachers often go beyond the regular classroom hours to provide assistance to their students through after-school programs, extracurricular sports, and extraordinary programs like the National Writing Project. They stay late, work weekends, and can provide that extra bit of encouragement that can be essential for motivating young minds.

There have been many great and renowned teachers in the history of the world -- Socrates, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein -- and yet the ones who have influenced us the most, too often toil anonymously and do not get the recognition they deserve.

I encourage each parent and student to thank their teachers for their service and to let them know how much we value their hard work and influence.