JOLIET – Teachers, administrators and business leaders gathered Thursday to welcome new members of the education community at the Joliet Area Chamber of Commerce New Educator’s Breakfast.
Chamber members introduced each new teacher, staff member and administrator in attendance from Joliet Public Schools District 86, Joliet Township High School District 204, Troy Community Consolidated School District 30-C and private schools.
Chamber Executive Vice President Mary Jaworski told the new educators that the chamber is proud to have a strong business-education partnership.
“We want strong schools,” Jaworski said. “We have business people who are committed to education and to partnering with you to strengthen students’ learning. You will find this a city of treasures.”
Several elected officials also offered support to the new educators during the breakfast at Harrah’s Joliet Hotel and Casino.
“This is a job market that is exploding, so we know that right here in the Joliet area we have the best of the best,” said state Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood.
State Rep. Larry Walsh Jr., D-Elwood, listed off the names of his former teachers, illustrating how education affected his upbringing. And Mayor Tom Giarrante, a former Joliet firefighter, quipped that he has risked his life to fight fires, but he’d still do that rather than the hard task of teaching in a classroom.
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, and Will County Executive Larry Walsh Sr. also thanked teachers for their service.
Several teachers attending are the products of the school districts where they teach.
“It’s really exciting because I grew up in Troy,” said new kindergarten teacher Erica Hibler, who has been a teacher’s assistant in the district since 2009.
“I’m really looking forward to the giving back,” she said, adding that the breakfast was good acknowledgment for new teachers like herself.
New Washington Junior High School and Academy teacher David Collins said the breakfast gives new teachers a chance to meet one another and learn about resources available to them.
Collins attended the school where he’ll teach English, language arts and social studies.
“I went to Woodland, then Washington, then Joliet Central,” Collins said. “I also student-taught at West. It’s great.”
As a new teacher, Collins hopes to motivate his students and become a role model for boys. He also has his own start-up motivational company called Life Lessons Cafe, where he shares life lessons he learned while growing up in Joliet.
New William B. Orenic Intermediate School general music teacher Chris Komos isn’t too familiar with the Joliet area. So he’s focused on getting comfortable with the district and community in his first year.
“You get to meet everybody besides the teachers and people you see every day,” Komos said about the breakfast. “Legislators, business people, you get to see the bigger picture. It shows appreciation for us, and you get to see people in other fields supporting yours.”