In the immortal (but slightly altered) words of Jay Stewart, the announcer for Let’s Make A Deal since it first came on in the 1960s: “These (teachers) dressed as they are, come from all over the county to make deals (and teach students) here in the education place of Chester County…”
That would have been an appropriate intro for the Chester County Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher Appreciation Day, since the event brought back last year’s popular “Let’s Make a Deal” theme, hosted not by Monty Hall, but by an emcee just as well known (in Chester County circles, if not across America,) Chester County’s own “top trader” Rick Jiran, VP of Government and Community Relations for Duke Energy.
For the occasion, Jiran had the cheesy suit, and instead of last year’s awful wig, he sported a pinkinsh houndstooth hat that would have made Bear Bryant envious. All he was missing was the stick-thin microphone that Monty Hall regularly carried in the “Marketplace of America” that was “Let’s Make a Deal”. There was no Carol Merrill to point at and distribute prizes, instead there were Laura Roberts and Brooke Clinton from the Chamber and 2022-23 Teacher of the Year Allison Libecap.
Jiran went hilariously through the Monty Hall routine, handing out money (which seemed to be the teachers’ favorite prize, as many gave up what was behind Curtain Number 1 for the sure thing of cold, hard cash) and ultimately, a widescreen TV.
Before the festivities took place, some dignitaries had a few appreciative words to say to the Chester County teachers about their incredible dedication and service they provided every day.
Chester County Chamber of Commerce President Brooke Clinton mentioned that her brother Jeb just came back from a life-changing trip to South Africa, where he saw shantytowns and heard stories of families torn apart as some family members had to leave the area to find stable employment. He told Brooke how grateful he was to be back in Chester, and the promise the area still holds.
“All this economic growth means that when you are teaching our young children to read, our middle-schoolers to interpret art and music and our high schoolers that advanced math, what you are really doing is equipping our students with the skills they need to be successful, and if they choose, to be successful in their own county.
“Because of you, a young man in Fort Lawn can choose to work for nearby Gallo wine, and travel the world for this international company. Because of you, a young lady in Great Falls can start her own rafting company and cater to explorers from all over our country.
“Because of you, Chester County will continue to thrive, because our students are ready to lead, and you have educated them to prosper. You are such an important part of our county’s economic development success,” Clinton said.
Chester County Administrator Brian Hester told the teachers a little bit about himself, and said he wanted to let the teachers know that Chester County government appreciates them.
He is the father of five children, all adults now (one studying to be a teacher) and all of the kids went to public school.
“Throughout my raising of my kids, there was always a teacher who took a special interest in one of my children, for whatever reason…there was always somebody in their lives when they needed it most who was a companion, who was a friend, a mentor. As a parent, I remember who it was, and my kids know how that teacher changed their life. What I submit to you is, while some days it seems like you’re fighting that fight and nobody cares...trust me. They may not say it, but the parents appreciate it. If you make the difference in one child’s life in your whole 40 years, that’s all that matters. And you can do that.”
Chester County School District Superintendent Dr. Antwon Sutton reminded his teachers, “as you go through the year and the ups and downs with students, with parents and with each other, hold on to the that one thing that keeps you coming back every day. Even through you may have 25 or so students in the classroom, there’s always at least one that you’re going to reach that next day. Hold on for that,” he said. “Keep doing what you’re doing, because it really is making a difference. Even when you think it is not, is really is. I think back to teachers I’ve had and I still keep in contact with some of them when I’m home. Just know that your impact continues; it will outlast all of us,” he said.
Following the Let’s Make A Deal portion of the event things turned ceremonious as the school Teachers of the Year were announced and finally, Great Falls Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year Brooke Rabon was named the Chester County School District Teacher of the Year.