Celebrating our schools and Barbara Blanchard

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I recently had the privilege of attending the 13th birthday party at Blanchard Elementary School for Barbara Blanchard. It was, as always, a joyous occasion. There were many of Barbara's friends and former co-workers in attendance including her second-grade teacher. The highlight of the event included performances by each of the classes. Current teachers were also involved with various skits celebrating the day. The event was emceed by Mary Ann Lewis with her usual clever and comical antics that always follow the theme of the day.

Blanchard Elementary is a successful school under the leadership of Principal Barbara Kohlfeld. It has dedicated educators who take their positions very seriously as they teach and coach young children as they begin their education. Blanchard has an enhanced reading program, staffed by Cape Girardeau residents and led by Bekki Cook. That goes a long way toward advancing each student's growth and knowledge. The school, as you walk the halls, is full of color and excitement through the use of many art projects. The school suffered a major setback this year with a damaging fire. However, a positive attitude among all was evident throughout the building that day.

Many thoughts went through my mind as I enjoyed the program, which I thought would be appropriate to share with our citizens. My perspective that day was of only Blanchard Elementary. However, I know that many such quality programs and events occur in all of our public schools.

A vibrant public education system is vital to the success of any community. It is every citizen's responsibility to nurture and support the Cape Girardeau public school system. We are so fortunate that this support continues throughout our community. Citizens have, through the years, voted to support bond issues to build Blanchard, the high school, the Career and Technology Center, Franklin Elementary, and additions and upgrades throughout the entire system.

The system has quality leadership at the board and administrative levels. This is followed by many, many dedicated teachers and staff who work diligently each and every day to prepare our youth for the future.

Many parents assist their children's school through volunteering, Parent Teacher Organizations and strong support at home. We would certainly like to grow this parental support to include more families in the future days and years.

I certainly saw much pride and satisfaction in Barbara's face and actions that day as she greeted family, friends and colleagues at her namesake Blanchard Elementary. Congratulations, Barbara, and thank you for all you have done for Cape Girardeau, our schools and our youth.

Harry E. Rediger is the mayor of Cape Girardeau.

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