Each year the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS) hosts a luncheon for what they call “Schools of Distinction” from throughout the state.  CLAS has been around for 30+ years serving as an umbrella for a number of groups such as elementary, middle school and high school principals and providing an array of professional development opportunities.  They have 4,000 members.

They divide the state according to the eight state school board districts and go through an extensive evaluation process to select usually four final schools per district.  These schools are then recognized at a luncheon.  They have been kind enough to invite me to attend these events.  (There was not one last year due to the pandemic.)

So May 3 I was right there amongst them–no teeth and all.  (I tried to keep my mouth shut as much as possible, which ain’t easy for me. Luckily the meal included mashed potatoes and a slice of pie that did not need chewing.)

Everyone at my table was from Tuscaloosa.  (I never once mentioned Auburn or War Eagle.)

Each of the 31 schools being recognized were given a few minutes to highlight why they were recognized.  For a lay person like me, it was a great reminder of the amazing work that goes on in our public schools.  Of the dedicated teachers and special education personnel and supportive principals who give so very much each day for the young folks in their classrooms.

These people are passionate about what they do.  And this passion carries over into their classrooms and schools.  Because of this, miracles happen.  A light goes on in the mind of a second grader and suddenly a math problem becomes much clearer or a phrase in a book takes on new meaning.

I am in awe of teachers.  Of their patience, devotion, dedication and love. There are easier ways to make a living.  But thank God, this is the career they have chosen.

Here are the schools recognized this year:

Chickasaw Elementary, Clark-Shaw Magnet Middle, E. R. Dickson Elementary, Nora Mae Hutchens Elementary, Jerry Lee Faine Elementary, Lakewood Elementary, Lakewood Primary, Webb Elementary, Berry Middle, Chelsea High, Millbrook Middle, Sycamore Elementary, Hillcrest High, Northridge Middle, Southview Elementary, University Place Elementary, Gilliard Elementary, Prattville Primary, R. B. Hudson STEAM Academy, Williamson High and Middle Grades Preparatory Academy, KDS DAR Elementary, Ohatchee High, Sparkman Elementary, Haleyville Center of Technology, Harland Elementary, Kilby Laboratory , Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools-Elementary, Collins Intermediate, James Clements High, Mae Jemison Hill and Mill Creek Elementary.

Congratulations to each of these and thank you for the miracles you create.