Gratitude and Support

15 November 2016

As we enter our last week before Thanksgiving, I want to express to all of Vermont’s educators how grateful I am for all you do. I am also grateful for the kindness, wisdom and insight of our amazing students. 

Not too long ago, our Vermont community lost five wonderful young people from the Harwood area in an accident. Some amongst us, most understandably, are still struggling with the impact of this. One young man from Harwood Union High School offered words that can guide us all as we work to strengthen a more perfect union right here in Vermont.

He told the audience how he had climbed a mountain the day after the accident. As he looked down the valley from the top at the road where the accident had occurred, he wondered how something that looked as small as the cars crawling along the black belt of highway could cause so much hurt. He then observed that when you are ten feet from those most affected, the hurt and fear is overwhelming. He went on to thank the assembled crowd, which included high school students and educators from all over the state, for choosing to walk closer to the accident and the families, to carry some of the pain that otherwise would not have been theirs to bear. 

I know that every day, you choose to move closer to challenges of the students you teach—challenges that are not yours—in order to lend them strength and aspiration until they themselves are strong and connected enough to thrive on their own. This is what educators do. This is who we are.

Read the full memo.

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Secretary Daniel M. French
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Montpelier, VT 05620-2501

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