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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Letter to the Editor

Tireless efforts of educators lauded by county residents


I used to believe that the role of an educator was solely to “educate,” but I now realize how mistaken I was.

I had the chance this past Friday to schedule an appointment with Ms. Jenifer Hoffman Rayne at PHS. It was my first time visiting that school, and I must say, it is a truly beautiful school!

I always knew my wife, Belinda at CCSS, was proud of her school. However, Ms. Rayne’s pride in her school is just as strong. She was absolutely glowing as she talked about the staff and students. The positive energy radiating from her description of the school, staff and students was amazing, and the same positive energy could be felt from the students as they left for the day.

Ms. Rayne requested that I walk out front with her while the students were being dismissed. I thought it would be a good opportunity to observe what law enforcement was referring to – the negative aspects and all the labels that have been used to describe our WorCO kids in recent months during BOE meetings and press conferences.

However, I did not witness any of that.

As the kids left school, especially those boarding the buses, it was evident that they were happy it was Friday, and they were leaving. Who wouldn’t be? Almost every student leaving made eye contact with Ms. Rayne, and many of them responded in kind when she wished them a great weekend.

So….What did I see?

I saw love and respect from these kids who have been unfairly stereotyped. It broke my heart when Ms. Rayne mentioned that these kids had asked her, “Why do some people label us as criminals?” That’s awful! No student should ever have to have that thought run through their mind. Never!

I observed kids who took pride in their school. I witnessed kids who displayed respect for their school environment. I saw kids who expressed gratitude for the efforts of their teachers and administrators. I observed kids who had established strong relationships built on trust and confidence with the adults who were educating them. Additionally, I noticed that some kids seemed to have a more positive experience at school than they may have outside or at home.

This experience opened my eyes to things I never knew existed or that kids were capable of. Maybe some of us have forgotten what being a kid is all about. Maybe those people making decisions have forgotten also. Perhaps it’s time for all the adults to visit some schools.

This led me to ponder why adults cannot demonstrate the same level of respect? Why do some of us feel the need to tear each other apart during meetings? What happened to civility? What happened to adults understanding the distinction between “Perspective and Perception?” There is a significant difference between the two, and these kids seem to grasp it. So why can’t the adults in positions of decision-making comprehend it?

I hope to be invited to other schools to witness what is happening there. I am genuinely interested in understanding the experiences you all go through daily. I am aware that my perspective will only provide a snapshot, but I am still eager to see everything. I am there to challenge the generalizations that have been made about these kids. I am also interested in helping wherever I can.

I acknowledge that you all have a challenging job. Kids will always be kids. As you read this, you may recall your own experiences at that age. While some kids may require more guidance to make sound decisions, and I am confident that those of you reading this will ensure it happens… they’re all still kids. Good kids. Just like we were at one time.

I don’t want to write a lengthy novel, so I will conclude here. If you have made it this far, thank you. Thank you to each one of you who work tirelessly to educate and care for the school population in WorCO. It is a demanding job because you wear so many different hats.

Something I have learned over the many years of being involved in my community that I want to share. It is important for you reading this that the opinions of the vocal minority do not represent the rest of us. I can assure you that the majority of parents, grandparents, citizens, and taxpayers are in support of you. I will also do everything in my power to not only help you, but to protect your profession as well.

Please always keep this in mind.

Thom Gulyas
South Point