For well over 30 years the greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce has held the tradition of welcoming new teachers into our region school system with an elegant luncheon. The 2016-2017 Academic Year saw a lot of new faces and learned a few ideas before it even got started. The Chamber of Commerce and its various educational facilities look forward to working together to build a bigger and better community.
“One of the best relationships we can have is with the school system,” said Drew Gesse, the Marketing Director for the Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce. “They add quality to our businesses and to our community.”
Mayor Blair Milo said, “It’s very important to enhance the connectivity between our schools and our businesses. Our teachers are training our future workers and employees of many of our businesses,” He said.
“We also want to make sure that all of our students are getting as many opportunities to learn about not only the opportunities to have a career in La Porte, but to gain those skillsets for whatever career path they may want to follow, whether they are heading off to college or whether they’re pursuing a career path immediately following graduation. And so having that close relationship between our businesses and our schools really helps grow the opportunities for both our employers and our students.” said Mayor Milo.
The Greater La Porte Economic Development Group wanted to reward a teacher and a student that they felt contributed on either side of that relationship. Their Workplace Development Teacher of the Year award went to Tami Maxcy. She has started programs and expanded old ones that focus on preparing students for college, such as the Work Study program.
Stanley Henderson won the Student Readiness Award for his commitment to the culinary arts. He obtained all the certifications he could through the La Porte High School Culinary program and will be continuing his education at Ivy Technical Institute.
Mike Seitz, the President of the Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce, said, “Education of our youth is the education of our future workforce. It’s very important to have a link between the business community and the education system. What better way than to start that coalition now?”
Over sixty new teachers were added to the coalition at the August 4th luncheon. Some had been hired in just days before the gathering, while still more are being sought out for the coming school year.
The luncheon gave them the opportunity to build those much needed connections with the members of the Chamber of Commerce.
A new first grade teacher, Courtney Proffitt, said, “I think [the luncheon] is important, so we can make sure we’re relevant to the community, and that we’re reaching out to everyone.”
Adam Miller will be teaching Agriculture at his new Tri Township school. As a man who grew up on a farm, he sees the relevance in his subject matter that we too often take for granted. “We use [agriculture] every day. Our clothes, our food- without agriculture and farmers we wouldn’t be able to live.”
Homes for Heroes, an organization new to the area but not the nation, works hard to show teachers they are appreciated as much as any other civil servant. Their real estate program makes buying and selling homes more affordable for teachers, firefighters, veterans, and other community contributors. They also give out awards to people who are inspiring.
At the Luncheon they presented Claudia Williams, a teacher of 46 years, a Hero Award for her leadership in literacy.
Dee Dee Wood, the regional Representative for Homes for Heroes, said, “It is important for us to let our children know that heroes aren’t Batman or Spider-Man or Superman. They’re right here in our community.”