The Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce hosted its 2017 New Teachers Welcome Luncheon on Thursday. The Luncheon is hosted each year to recognize and celebrate new Teachers and administrators from various schools including, La Porte, New Prairie, South Central, Tri-Township, New Durham and La Lumiere schools as well as Ivy Tech Community College, Indiana Tech and Purdue Northwest.
During registration, new teachers were provided with a goody bag filled with items donated from local businesses. The luncheon began with an opening from Rita Mrozinski, President of the Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce. After a brief welcome, guests were allowed to take lunch and use the opportunity to network with their fellow teachers and administrators.
“We feel that the teachers need to be recognized for all that they do in our community and the business community actually provides all the teachers with bags and goodies because a lot of things come out of their pocket. We’ve been doing this for a number of years and it’s growing,” said Mrozinski.
The purpose of the event is to provide a welcome to new teachers, some of which grew up in the area and others of which are brand new to the schools. Many were excited to be attending and using this as an opportunity to meet new people in the area.
“I’m very excited. I’m originally from the area and I’m excited to move back home and be a part of La Porte," said Sydney Satoski, a new teacher for Handley Elementary. "I think it’s important that new teachers get to just recognize each others faces so that we know them and feel comfortable.”
After lunch, awards were given out to a few members of the crowd to call attention to the hard work and dedication teachers give to the communities they serve. Jeremy Ruff received the Workforce Readiness Teacher of the Year award for his work with students and taking the time to go above and beyond to prepare them for work. Shiana Masterson received the Workforce Readiness Student of the Year award, which recognized her dedication to joining the workforce.
The final award given was a surprise, and presented to Gloria Ballard. She received the Homes for Heroes Hero Award for her dedication to the education community over the years. She emotionally accepted the award in front of a standing ovation.
“The reason that we do it is because we feel like sometimes people that are in that profession are not recognized for the work that they do, and their job is so important. As a teacher, that’s where everything and everyone's career begins. We feel that by honoring the teachers we also show that appreciation to the students,” said DeeDee Wood, La Porte representative for Homes for Heroes.
Showing appreciation doesn’t need to be complicated. Attendees enjoyed their buffet lunch, which for teachers was sponsored by community members. Throughout the lunch attendees could be seen laughing and enjoying each other's company, creating connections and networking. Some were familiar, and for those who weren't, new friends were made.
“This is one of my favorite events that the Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce holds because we get to engage with a group of people who are new to the community. These are the people who are going to shape the lives of our youth,” said Bert Cook, Executive Director for the Greater La Porte Economic Development Corporation.
Congratulations and welcome to the new teachers in La Porte County. Enjoy the school year!