Opinion | Thank Michigan educators for their selflessness, spirit of giving

Paula Herbart

Paula Herbart is president of the Michigan Education Association, which represents 125,000 teachers, education support professionals and higher-education employees statewide.


Michigan’s hard-working, dedicated teachers, support staff and other public school employees are committed to helping students succeed every day, before, during and after school. They often do more with less, driven to help prepare all students for bright, prosperous futures.

As we all know, that doesn’t end when the school bell rings – after-school help for students, chaperoning prom, volunteering with school fundraisers and grading papers every weekend, for starters. 

That spirit of giving and selflessness extends into the holiday season, when our public school employees find new and creative ways to give back to their students and communities. Here are just a few examples this season:

  • Waterford School District employees donated $500 worth of houseware supplies and gift cards to a former student with cognitive impairments. The former student’s guardian passed away this year, leaving him in need of assistance. These public school employees are also working to ensure he can remain in his home. 
  • Teachers and support staff are on the frontlines when students arrive to school hungry. With that in mind, Glen Lake Schools and Leland Public School employees conducted Blessings in a Backpack to provide canned goods and other food to needy children.
  • Anchor Bay School District teachers and staff participate in Feed the Bay, a program that provides packed lunches for students in need.
  • A Linden Community Schools recess aide made a significant contribution to Angel Tree, which provides new clothing and toys for children in need. Inspired by her generosity, three other aides also contributed. 

There isn’t enough space here to list all the acts of kindness Michigan’s teachers, support staff and other educators provide during the holidays and all year round. MEA’s staff also get into the spirit, contributing thousands via our annual holiday raffle, with proceeds going toward ensuring needy Lansing-area families have a happy holiday season.

Please, take a moment to thank teachers, support staff and other public school employees in your community who work tirelessly to help create the leaders of tomorrow.

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Mon, 01/06/2020 - 6:38pm

It would be nice to have a 'wishing tree' for classroom project [$20 -500] that teachers could submit a 'wish' for. It could provide a means for people who are long out or their kids are long out of school, so they can provide support for teachers/students/classrooms, even ones not in their district, with confidence on how it would be spent.