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It takes a city: Syracuse City School District honors volunteers

A few of the volunteers honored at the SCSD’s Volunteer Awards Luncheon gather with Superintendent Sharon Contreras. Front row, from left:  Jaci Love, Eliza Sampson, Margaret Wilson and Patty Clark. Second row, from left: Latarra Odom, Michelle McBride, Superintendent Contreras and Twiggy Billue. In back: Joseph Williams.

A few of the volunteers honored at the SCSD’s Volunteer Awards Luncheon gather with Superintendent Sharon Contreras. Front row, from left: Jaci Love, Eliza Sampson, Margaret Wilson and Patty Clark. Second row, from left: Latarra Odom, Michelle McBride, Superintendent Contreras and Twiggy Billue. In back: Joseph Williams. Photo by Herm Card.

To paraphrase the “It takes a village to raise a child” axiom, in Syracuse, it takes a city to educate a child.

Public education can no longer function successfully if it relies solely on the efforts of professional educators to do the teaching and the government to provide the money. It takes committed individuals and committed businesses and civic organizations to help close the gap between what schools need and what schools can afford. In a time when money is tight — both at home and in schools — the Syracuse community continues to support public education through the energetic efforts of hundreds of volunteers.

Education is a city’s responsibility, not just its school system’s responsibility. The people of our city understand this, and hundreds of them step forward every year to donate their time and talents and money to work with the Syracuse City School District to make education happen on all the appropriate levels.

Although volunteerism is a longstanding staple of education everywhere, the SCSD is taking it to higher levels every year. It is a highly organized program that draws from all areas of the community. Among the 300 honorees at Tuesday’s Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon at Le Moyne College were parents, grandparents, business leaders, religious leaders, activists, educators, journalists, poets, professionals and non-professionals, laborers, retirees, future teachers, government public servants — you name it, they are on the list.

Volunteers work with programs and groups and with individuals. They instruct, they demonstrate, they mentor, they counsel, they lead. They work in classrooms, gymnasiums, auditoriums cafeterias, parking lots, athletic fields and on the street. They provide the extras that neither the SCSD nor any school district is always able to include in the day-to-day business of education.

Mostly, they care. The care for and about the children of Syracuse. It is important to them that children flourish and that Syracuse will flourish because of the children’s success.

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