Today has been very emotional for me and I want to say ‘thank you’ to express the pleasure, pride and pain that I feel by writing this open letter to….well, I don’t know who?
For 22 years as a parent with children in Catholic schools, I’ve been involved in countless meetings, school visits, teacher interviews, reading of newsletters, sports carnivals, award nights, fundraisers (the list is truly endless). However, today my time has come to an end with our youngest having completed his HSC this year. I’ve also had the privilege to be part of a Parent Board for the last 10 years, the last 5 as chair, so I’m sitting here at my work desk feeling a real sense of loss, having been to school this morning for the last of my meetings. Driving away from the College today was surprisingly difficult.
Other than the pride of a parent seeing their children thrive, can I be indulged by naming just two of the personal highlights in the 22 years?
- To witness my son’s all-of-school graduation assembly and see the gratitude and appreciation the Year 12 students so openly displayed to their teachers. The experience was unbelievable and still sends shivers down my spine as I recall the emotions displayed by staff and students. What other profession has such an impact? As a former accountant, I cannot ever recall such an outpouring of thanks for my superhuman efforts when I delivered the annual accounts on time!
- As part of the school’s strategic planning process, to collate then present to the school executive the parents’ feedback. To be given access to so many personal handwritten ‘thank you’ stories from parents who wrote of the very positive influence (and at times almost life-saving role) that a school has on the lives of children and families – these hidden stories were a revelation and humbling.
Dear parents: I know this will seem melodramatic, but as every volunteer will tell you, when you give your time without thought of return, you always receive back so very much more than you’ll put in. Do not miss out on your opportunity to contribute, as I’m so grateful that this advice was once given to me.
Despite the best of intentions, my fellow volunteers & I will surely lose touch in the years ahead, but I’ve loved their companionship and will always value the collegiality we shared.
Dear teachers: you are not rewarded in financial terms for your skills and the work you do; people generally do not understand the hours and time you devote to your profession; often your commitment to our children is not fully appreciated; and our community doesn’t understand the significance of the contribution you make to society. BUT today, as I lose my connection to our school, I’d like to say how honoured I’ve been to be associated with you and I’d like to emphasise again that your profession has a precious opportunity like no other.
For every grumble you hear; for each complaint you receive; and for any knock that you take; PLEASE remember that there are thousands and thousands of us silent parents out there who are unbelievably grateful for what you do. Our society cannot pay you what you are worth but we cannot afford to be without what you provide.
Please accept my sincere thank you, each and every one of you, who has had such an immeasurable impact on my children and our family over the past 22 years.
from the Chesher family