Educational connections build better communities

Rick Stiebel

Black Press

The word connections resonates throughout every facet of the Black Press Great Teachers feature with the consistency of a healthy pulse.

When you talk to Silken Laumann, Ryan Cochrane or Charlie Strandlund – athletes profiled this year who achieved outstanding recognition in their sport – all point to the connections teachers forged with them as a key component for their success.

Poring through the comments of readers’ submissions for the teachers they nominated not only speaks to the outstanding work teachers perform, but also highlights the lasting connections teachers share with the students they teach.

Saanich News publisher Oliver Sommer said the reason Black Press Community Media invests time and resources in Great Teachers goes beyond simply acknowledging individuals in the teaching profession.

“The reason we engage our readers throughout the process is because it allows us to go further than simply only shining a light on the amazing work teachers do,” he explained. “Sharing the experiences of the athletes we profiled this year and the parents, students and colleagues who took the time to nominate a particular teacher enables us to highlight the talents and focus that teachers tailor to the individuals they work with every day in classes throughout our communities. The connections teachers make with their students go far beyond the subjects they teach. As we see time and time again, the attention, perseverance and extra effort that teachers put into their work has a positive affect on our children that helps shape their future, and that’s something we all benefit from far beyond the classroom.”

Staples West Shore manager Gerry Denis said Staples is pleased to sponsor Great Teachers because it recognizes the significant role educators play in ensuring the students they teach are prepared to contribute to building strong communities that benefit everyone.

“Anyone you talk to is happy to share stories about the positive influence teachers had in their own development as well as that of their kids,” he noted. “We all benefit from the extraordinary dedication and work ethic teachers bring to the classroom every day. They play such an important role in shaping the future of our students, and we’re honoured to take part in Great Teachers because it recognizes those contributions.”

Camosun College president Sherri Bell welcomed the opportunity to congratulate all the participants in the Great Teachers initiative.

“This program is a wonderful way to recognize the educational leaders who give so much to their students and communities, Bell said. “It may be difficult to determine what makes an educator “great,” but there are some universal qualities, caring, inspiring and passionate.

“While the program is focused on teachers in the school system, we feel the ripple effects of their work in the college system. Many of the students who pursue post-secondary education have been touched, in some way, by a great teacher when they were in high school or elementary school. They may have been sparked by a teacher who nurtured a love of learning or a curiosity about the world.

“Great teachers make for exceptional students, and in turn lead to thriving, healthy communities. Thank you, Black Press, for creating a platform to celebrate teachers.”

The Great Teachers program is presented by Black Press and Staples, in partnership with Camosun College.

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