Message to our Teachers from School Board Member - Carrie Coyner
On behalf of the Chesterfield County School Board, I’d like to extend our warmest thanks and gratitude for your hard work and dedication to Chesterfield County Public Schools.
At Enon Elementary School’s 75th anniversary celebration last Friday, I had the privilege of speaking about the impact my elementary school teachers had on my life and how they truly shaped the person I am today. I’d like to share an excerpt of my speech with you in the hopes that each teacher in Chesterfield County knows that you truly do make a big difference in the lives of young people. Although you may not often hear from former students, you are a big part of who we have become.
“I was a student here at Enon Elementary School in the 1980s. I brought my yearbooks with me, and I considered sharing pictures of some folks who are here today. But then I remembered you would all have to see my ’80s childhood hair, hideous owl eyeglasses and horrible fashion choices, and I decided to just hold onto these for now.
Our memories of school typically don’t take us back to a building or a book but to the people who touched our lives — our teachers.
• My kindergarten teacher, Beth Molter, taught me to love learning through play. • My first-grade teacher, Tina West, was always beaming full of life and taught me to always be positive. • My second- and fifth-grade teacher, Shirley Watts, inspired me to dress my best and taught me to be a bold public speaker. • In third grade, Connie Gorman revealed my love for writing stories. I still have the books that I wrote in her class. • In fourth grade, Ramona Rogers took me to Williamsburg and sparked my passion for history.
I am a successful attorney and School Board member today because of the foundation these teachers — plus a special librarian, Mrs. Wetzel — gave me. In the fifth grade, I had an obsession with Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. I researched, read books and I wrote stories; Mrs. Wetzel fed my passion with books.
My teachers throughout the years had instilled in me a love of reading and a passion for history, and Mrs. Wetzel gave me a love for research through reading. She brought me books from home, and she checked out books for me at the public library. She led me to other areas of literature as I outgrew the elementary school library, and I became a bookworm. Today, I am a masterful reader, and I owe these skills to the strong foundation from my elementary school years at Enon.
Despite what kids today think, you don’t become an attorney by hanging out at crime scenes as portrayed on ‘Law & Order’ — you have to be a skilled reader, an avid researcher and willing to speak up on behalf of others. Today, I am a strong female professional in part because of the strong female role models in my early years at Enon Elementary School. You can take every description of my teachers and find a teacher in Enon today who has had the same impact on a child. Thank you to the teachers and staff of the past and present who have made Enon what it is today.”
Teachers: You are remarkable role models; you change the world, one child at a time; and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being loving, kind, passionate, bold and, above all, dedicated.