The enduring legacy of a good teacher was one focus of College Place Public Schools’ booth at Walla Walla County Fair & Frontier Days this year.
The information booth was a first-time effort, said district spokeswoman Heidi Wells, and it found a soft spot in the hearts of fairgoers earlier this month.
“We were giving stuff away, and people could fill out a card to a teacher who made a difference in their life. And people loved it.”
More than 200 folks took advantage of the information booth at the fair to pen sentiments to present and past educators, Wells said. She listed some memories shared on the cards, such as a teacher’s encouragement to push ahead and believe in a dream.
Jed Maynes sent a message to teacher Claire Davis at Lewis-Clark State College: “You took my writing ability to new heights and made me realize that education can be fun, thoughtful, communal and practical,” Maynes wrote.
“Thank you for being a great teacher! You truly care about your students. I still remember 20 years later that you care,” Jane Waldher told Waitsburg High School teacher Roseanne Groom.
Kris Russell told Ms. Kausen of Nehalem Elementary School in Oregon that she was very compassionate and caring of each child in her class. And Deborah Prock let retired Milton-Freewater high school teacher Don Davis know he had taught her that music is poetry and “words are fun.”
The plan is to mail out the messages to every teacher who can be found and hand deliver those meant for current College Place teachers. Many will be posted to the district’s Facebook page, Wells said.
The idea came from Superintendent Jim Fry, and others jumped on board to bring the message cards to fruition. Fair participants also put pins in a map of the United States to show the coast-to-coast breadth of the response, she said.
The project was meant to show educators they’ve made a huge difference in kids’ lives, she said.
“And sometimes they might not know that for 20 years. That’s critical as teachers are taking on so much more these days, such as the social and emotional learning … teachers have to know everything.”