Imperial Chamber honors teachers at annual Welcome Back luncheon

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Dr. Todd Finnell, Imperial County Superintendent of School, speaking his keynote address to the audience at the annual Welcome Back Teachers luncheon Tuesday morning held at Frank Wright Middle school in Imperial. Photo by Daniella Rodiles

IMPERIAL - As a new school year arrives and students wait in anticipation before classes start, Imperial teachers followed days of work and preparation with a calm interval at the annual Welcome Back Teachers luncheon Tuesday morning. The event was hosted by the Imperial Chamber of Commerce at Frank Wright Middle school in Imperial.

With dozens of teachers busy preparing for the new school year, the Imperial Chamber of Commerce organized the annual luncheon to honor and acknowledge local educators for their hard work and dedication to the children of the community.

Several sponsors, including Advanced Eye Care, CoopersWest, Benchmark Mortgage, Imperial Valley Chiropractic, Sun Community Federal Credit Union, Pattern, Tuscany, Rabobank, Fiesta Tortillas, ICOE program, Hart Insurance and Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District, were represented in booths to thank them for their contribution to the event.

“This luncheon is to let our teachers of Imperial know that we’re thankful for their service, because it is a tough profession to teach young children and young adults,” said Rafael Galvan, president of the Imperial Chamber of Commerce.

“We like to highlight our teachers and show the community they’re basically teaching our sons and daughters all type of skills and molding them for the future,” he said.

Surrounded by a vivid and bright atmosphere, visitors roamed through the booths, and talked and laughed with co-workers as they enjoyed a variety of foods.

While mingling among the dozens of teachers, Lizeth Samaniego, a seventh grade math teacher, expressed gratitude at the encouragement and assistance the community and the city of Imperial have shown teachers as she is about to achieve eight years of teaching.

“It’s awesome to see all of the companies and corporations support education in the Valley. I love teaching. It’s a career where you get to grow as a person and be more professional,” said Samaniego.

VIP guest speakers Alma Reed from Sun Community and Art Mejia from Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District, expressed their support and offered their services to all the teachers of the community. Also, Marion Long, a former Imperial teacher and current member of Imperial Chamber of Commerce, sang a song about her love of and experience in teaching, which touched members of the audience as they cheered her performance with applause.

With a full year ahead for teachers and students, Dr. Todd Finnell, Imperial County Superintendent of Schools, gave a keynote address that addressed how teachers have survived several disruptions like technology, music, social media and transportation, the changing generations over the years, and ultimately, having an effect in the classroom.

“I think our teachers, day in and day out, are doing a tremendous job despite the disruptive changes in the system of education. Year after year, there has been progress, and our teachers are not just making Imperial a better place, but our world a better place,” said Finnell.