EL CENTRO – The El Centro Chamber of Commerce hosted this yearâ€™s annual Welcome Back Teacher Breakfast Thursday morning as school district officials honored El Centro Elementary School District teachers and educators with recognitions, slide shows and laughter at the Wilson Junior High School gymnasium in El Centro.Â
Superintendent Jon LeDoux said district teachers are spread across 12 schools and nine departments and this is the only time of the year when they get together and see each other.
â€œIt is important to let the teachers know how important they are,” LeDoux said. “And it sets the tone for the year that weâ€™re here to support our teachers and that the school board supports them.â€Â
â€œIt is important that the community puts this on for us, the El Centro Chamber of Commerce, and it is just a wonderful time to get together and talk about the importance of education in our community,â€ LeDoux said. This yearâ€™s Partners for Excellence were Centinela State Prison and the Imperial Valley Food Bank.Â
According to LeDoux, over 500 teachers and educators attended the teacher breakfast. The basketball court in the gymnasium was filled as well as the bleachers. Community organizations offered information, services and promotional materials. Several gift baskets were displayed on the podium.Â
Juan Aguilera is the principal at Lincoln Elementary School. This year, the school will have 14 educators who will be teaching about 350 students, ranging from kindergarten through sixth-grade, he said.Â
â€œThis is a good time for us to come together and see each other for the first time in the school year,” Aguilera said. “This is one of the few times that we get to see everyone at once. It is good to start the school year with high spirits so we can bring that enthusiasm back to our classroom and school sites.â€Â
Aguilera said the work El Centro teachers do everyday is the most important job that anyone can have and is the most honorable profession. â€œIâ€™ve been very fortunate to work with people who have inspired me, and have inspired our children. I see that they don’t receive enough credit for the very difficult and challenging work they do day-in and day-out,â€ he said.Â
During the event, newly hired teachers were also introduced. And teachers who have taught for 25 years or more were called to the stage, given recognition, and were congratulated by the El Centro Elementary School District board of trustees. Norma Trull, a first grade teacher at Martin Luther King Elementary School, was honored for her 37 years of teaching.Â
Another teacher given recognition for 25 years of teaching was Roberta Bird. â€œIt was awesome,â€ she said of her recognition.Â
Bird spoke of what she has prepared for her 28 second-grade students at Hedrick Elementary School. â€œWe have a new English language arts curriculum. Iâ€™m so excited because of the phonics, literature, and writing. I piloted the program last year, and I just know that the kids are gonna enjoy it and do well,â€ Bird said.
Later, each of the schools and departments showed a slide show featuring their campuses. According to LeDoux, he told the schools to make videos of what makes their school great. Only one parameter was given â€” â€œSell your school.â€ As a result, message contents ranged from serious to lighthearted and funny to an appreciative audience. All of the shows yielded laughter, whistles and pompom cheers.Â
Francisco Venegas, another El Centro teacher, teaches mathematics to seventh graders at Wilson Junior High School. He said he was thankful for welcome event. â€œYou feel really nice because you feel appreciated. And its really nice to see all the people from the district.â€Â
For Bird, teaching is of paramount importance. â€œI love teaching and Iâ€™m hoping Iâ€™m making a difference for all the children that pass through my classroom,â€ she said.