OUR VIEW: First bell marks beginning of school year

Within the next couple days, thousands of kids will load up their book bags and will embark on another year in their academic careers.

School is about to start in both Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes – a time that seemingly marks the end of summer and the beginning of autumn.

School days are a great time in a child’s life – even if they don’t yet realize it.

While in school, children are given the opportunity to make friends. Sometimes those bonds are formed so strong that they last an individual for the rest of their lives.

Children also learn the ways of the world through school. Young people learn how to socialize and solve worldly problems when in an academic setting.

A problem as basic as learning how to deal with a classroom bully seems elementary in the big-picture scheme of things. But through school, children learn how to deal with real-life problems – communication skills that they’ll take with them through the rest of their lives.

But perhaps more important than it all, students receive the most valuable gift of all in their education experience – the gift of learning.

Learning is a priceless treasure in life. With knowledge, doors that were previously locked to a person suddenly become unlocked. By learning basic math, science, reading, history and other education skills, the entire picture that encompasses our world becomes painted in a student’s mind. With that picture, young people are able to begin forming their own opinions about things in the world. Those opinions shape the personalities that allow them to become the people that they’ll mature into.

Of course, the key to quality education is top-notch schools, and the key to a good school is caring, diligent teachers and administrators.

Teachers are among the most important people in a society. They are often unappreciated and are probably woefully underpaid for the work that they do, but their love and passion toward youth help make a community the place that it is.

We all have had a few who we like more than others, but they all have their own impact on a person in their own way.

Parenting is not an easy chore. Just about anyone who’s ever been one can attest to that – even if one has just one kid to look out for.

Well, from bell-to-bell, teachers are basically the acting parents for kids from Monday-Friday. To juggle that many personalities and still find a way to treat everyone with kindness and fairness is a remarkable feat, and teachers deserve our utmost appreciation as we begin another school year.

But aside from teachers, a lot of the burden for whether the school year will be a success falls on the public within each school system.

There are a lot of things we can do to ensure that things go without a hitch for the next several months.

If a parent, be proactive in your child’s educational experience. Attend open-houses and get involved in school affairs. It’s not easy to run an educational center and help is always needed and appreciated. Little things like offering to volunteer at festivals or activities go a long way.

If not a parent, we can still help our area’s educational system.

School time means there will be buses on the road – both in the morning and afternoon. Adjust your schedules accordingly. Leave home 10 minutes earlier on the way to work. If behind a bus, be patient and allow it to complete its route safely.

One can also help by supporting local athletic programs. The start of school means high school football and volleyball are around the corner. By attending a couple games, you’re putting dollars into the system, which are used to give back to the children on the field.

That’s what it’s all about – the kids. And anything that promotes their well-being is something worth chasing.

Best of luck to every local school in the area.

May this year be among your best yet!

Thanks for what you do for our kids. •