Amazing team

Dear Editor:

This year, my class and I have received quite a bit of media attention from both People Magazine and the Office Depot “Teachers Change Lives” program. I am pleased to have the opportunity to promote helping students find courage and independence through challenging activities. However, I am uncomfortable with the idea that I do this alone.

Everything that happens in our classroom is the result of an enormous amount of teamwork. The classroom staff includes Bryan Hinds, June Landgraf and Julie Ogier, and they pour their hearts and energy into the class every day. Knowing how important they are to our students, they are even willing to spend time away from their own families to go on overnight trips with the class. In fact, on a fall backpacking trip, they dropped their heavy loads in camp, only to turn around and hike back to the trail head to pick up a second load of gear that the students had been unable to carry. The program couldn’t exist without them.

Besides an exceptional classroom staff, I rely heavily on the support of the high school special education team of resource teachers and aides, in particular Mary Helen Cammack and Jaye White. They always have our backs.

The Special Talents students are fortunate to attend school in a district that understands the importance of outdoor activities in the development of confidence and self-worth. Our principals, superintendent, director of transportation and the school board make decisions based on what is good for students, not on what is expected and easy. Their courage is crucial to the development of our students’ courage.

Our outdoor activities depend on a great deal of community support, as well. Wolf Creek Ski Area, LASSO, Pagosa Outside and Pagosa Rafting Outfitters are just a few of the organizations that have helped us for many years. Add to that list all of the businesses and organizations that donate time, materials or welcome our students into on-job training programs, and the list would be endless.

Of course, nothing would happen without the unfailing support of my family and friends. They are the hidden resources that make everything possible.

One of the best “Teachers Change Lives” videos is students thanking their teachers. I would really like to see a video of our students thanking all of the people who make up this amazing team. Thank you all from all of us.

Mary Kurt-Mason

Critical thinker

Dear Editor:

We need a calm, critical thinker and a voice of reason on the La Plata Electric Board of Directors. We, as voters, have a great opportunity to elect Bob Lynch.

I endorse Bob Lynch.

Kalei Pitcher

This story was posted on April 10, 2014.