A proclamation for the future has been declared by school boards across the country, and Roseburg Public Schools has joined the fanfare by proclaiming November 12-16, 2018, American Education Week.

Education is at the heart of the American experience, whether we consider the enlightenment of the founders, the innovation of geniuses, the toil and sweat of workers or the children of all creeds and colors throughout our history who have played on the playgrounds of public schools.

In our experiences these last few months, it has become obvious this proclamation has deep significance for the community of Roseburg, and as we visit all the schools this community supports, we can say without any reservation: Education is alive and well in the Roseburg Public Schools, and our future is bright.

In August we saw the cars of teachers in school parking lots well before their scheduled dates to report for duty, not to mention student athletes practicing their fall sports before their duty as students began. Custodians were putting the finishing touches on the buildings soon to be occupied by 6,000 people we know as our neighbors, our relatives and our friends.

And when September arrived we were all put on notice to drive a bit more carefully, especially around school zones where our future charges would be walking to school.

Everyone in our community is in some way connected to our schools. Everyone in our community can be proud of what our schools accomplish. Everyone in our community should be energized about Roseburg’s prospects for the future because of education.

Roseburg schools provide a place for everyone to learn, for everyone to be challenged intellectually and for everyone to be supported emotionally. Our schools are places where we can all grow up to become productive, engaged, proud contributors to a community that deserves our best.

Nothing is more indicative of a community that raises the stakes to excellence than the people we meet while visiting schools. We encounter teachers, secretaries, custodians, cooks, technology folks, people who work in the warehouse and those who sit in the chairs of offices with important nametags, not to mention students from the age of 5 to 18. Everyone embraces a smile, a caring demeanor and a can-do attitude as if they realized they are all a part of something bigger than themselves.

Many of the new teachers at the orientation had grown up in the Roseburg Public Schools, graduated from Roseburg High School and gone off to college, only to return to be a part of Roseburg schools as teachers. We would surmise that perhaps they had not envisioned themselves returning to their old stomping grounds, and yet they have done so with an enthusiasm and pride that speaks volumes for this community.

When education is such an integral part of a community, such as it is in Roseburg, the proclamation of celebration becomes a tremendously impactful village voice, and we realize we are all part of something bigger than ourselves. Let’s celebrate that big and hopeful future that education brings.

Joe Garcia is Board Chair for Roseburg Public Schools. He wrote this column on behalf of the entire board.

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