Except for our families, the people who have had the greatest influence on our lives are probably our elementary school teachers. I bet that you can name them all and have a story to go with each one. Even if you never were sent to the principal’s office you probably recall those school leaders fondly as mentors of your tender years.
Parents are the first educators of their children. They lay the ground work upon which the teachers must build. I like to think of our minds and personalities as being pure potential when we come into this world. We might compare each of us at that stage to a block of marble, beautiful but unshaped. Only God knows what shape the marble will take as it is lovingly sculpted and shaped by parents and then by teachers.
It is much like the point made when a child who watched a sculpter turn a block of marble into a lion asked “how did he know there was a lion in there?” A great teacher has a vision of what is inside as she or he sculpts young minds and hearts.
By the time we get to college, we recognize a great teacher, but often it is only in retrospect that we recognize the greatness of those men and women who challenged and shaped us in our early formative years.
It has been said that only those who see the invisible can do the impossible. I salute the teachers and principals in our schools that can see the potential in young students that might be invisible to others and undertake the challenging task of shaping them into men and women of faith, character and integrity.
Our Catholic school system is blessed to have such dedicated and capable professional teachers and administrators. They deserve our thanks and recognition.