Those of you who believe educators do not play a huge and positive role in the lives of our children, please read on.
In the past 24 hours, I have received numerous emails and phone messages from people asking for individual stories recognizing retiring local educators.
This happens when the school calendar draws to a close each year, but this year, I received the most requests ever. Thanks to those who took the time to call or email.
I'm someone who loathes anything covered by a broad stroke, but space and time limitations force me to do just that.
If you are part of the 99.9 percent of dedicated educators and education support staffers not just collecting a paycheck, thank you. We know you are out there.
If you are a retiring educator or school staffer who has given your life to the betterment of young people, thank you, thank you, thank you. You may attach your name here.
You know who you are, those of you who have given 20, 30 or 40-plus years of your life to seeing that the young people in your charge are educated. You cannot be thanked enough.
You are the leaders of band and music programs, where long hours and short appreciation is the norm. You are master fundraisers who are on the fighting-for-program frontline at all times.
You are science, art, history, physical-education and math teachers, who wonder at times if the students you deal with love it as much as you. They do, because you have found a way to reach them, to make your subject interesting and rewarding.
You are history, government, English and speech teachers, who have willed young people to be creative with their words and to take stock in what has happened before them.
You are primary-level educators, who in addition to teaching all the basics, are serving as extended family. You are mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, doctor and psychologist at some point each day.
You are athletic and front-office support-staff members, those who make each day run smoothly. You have heard every tardy excuse and watched every athletic director go off the deep end because Mother Nature would not cooperate.
You are coaches, who are trusted to teach during school and teach more after. You are the ones who take responsibility for the losses and make sure it always is about the kids when you win. More than once, you have defended athletics and extracurricular activities when some nitwit wanted to cut your program to save a few bucks. Sometimes, you must teach life lessons rather than explaining how to run the triple-option.
You are administrators, counselors and deans, taking heat because you made the decision to lead. You cannot remember the last time someone told you thanks for making a difference in a son's or daughter's life, but you have. You also know being at the top is not as much fun as it seemed when you were in the middle.
Educators across our area are in the home stretch of careers spent making a difference in the lives of our children. If time allows -- and we all have five minutes -- stop and thank a retiring educator.
They all have made a difference.
Columnist John Marx can be reached at 309-757-8388 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today is Sunday, March 9, the 68th day of 2014. There are 297 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Much damage is being done to sidewalks, shade trees, fences and gardens by hogs that are running at large about town. 1889 -- 125 years ago: H.C. Cleveland was elected air knight captain of Rock Island Division Uniform Rank Knights of Pythias. 1914 -- 100 years ago: B.W. Wilson, authority on birds and their habits, spoke at the weekly luncheon at the Rock Island Club. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The famous Dionne quintuplets have been invited to visit King George and Queen Elizabeth in Toronto on May 22, but Papa Dionne thinks their majesties should include the Callander nursery in their tour. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Ever been smothered by funny stuff? Well more than 2,600 people were last night when two boys named Tom and Dick Smothers took a "rocky, twisting road to folk music" in Davenport Masonic Temple. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Moline residents soon may be asked to recycle part of their garbage and might even get paid for it.