Quote of the week: “A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart.” – Author Unknown

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It was a great pleasure covering the visit of Missouri’s first lady Teresa Parson, wife of Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, Monday morning at the back-to-school workshop. Her speech to St. Clair School District teachers, administration, school board and staff was very uplifting and positive.

Listening to Parson’s dedication to education initiatives — such as the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), her commitment to helping special education students and praising the hard work of teachers — meant a lot to me as my family members and many friends are educators.

My mom teaches students who have special needs, and over the course of her career she has worked endlessly to help her students overcome their adversity and reach their full potential. It was really encouraging to hear that teachers, like my mom, should be “as well equipped as possible to work with these children and to provide the education that they need to enter the workplace.”

“Many of these individuals can be productive citizens in our society with just a little opportunity and guidance.”

It’s great to know that Parson is working to make sure teachers have the tools and essentials they need to teach in order to positively shape students’ lives.

I was surprised to learn just how effective the JAG program has been in other communities. Parson noted that graduation rates within the program have been at 97 percent with last year being at its highest at 98 percent. That’s very impressive!

Her anecdote about how 73 Class of 2019 high school graduates earned more than $950,000 in academic scholarships was incredible to hear and I hope that encourages St. Clair students to continue with their education — you never know what the future holds if you don’t give up.

The JAG program for St. Clair High School junior and seniors will be implemented this upcoming school year and I can’t wait to report on the positive progress and change the program will bring to the community.