Juarez: Respect the teachers, rules

Published 4:29 pm Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Maricela Juarez, who is the mother of Erick Juarez.

You may remember that Eric’s early nomination to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Erick is outstanding in so many ways and continues to excel in his endeavors.

His mother is also studying hard.

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She is a member of the English as a Second Language class that meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church with teacher Ginny McBride.

Mrs. Juarez and her husband have been in the United States for a number of years. They have worked in the farm industry in Texas, Florida and now permanently in Bainbridge. Mrs. Juarez is a dedicated student in the English program to improve her English language skills and study for citizenship.

Each of her children began school speaking Spanish.

Her oldest son graduated last year and is currently enrolled in a work/study electrical engineer program in Americus.

Erick and her other three children have done incredibly well in school and stay at the top of their classes.

When I said that she must be very proud of Erick and her other children, Mrs. Juarez thought hard about her response.

Of course she is proud, she said, but she does not think that this is extraordinary. She told her children to respect the teachers and the rules and she made sure they studied hard. Though she could not help them with their homework, she made sure they completed it. She simply expected them to do their best.

Mr. and Mrs. Juarez fully understood the value of the education their children were able to receive and made sure they made full advantage of it.

So often, we take our education system for granted. It was refreshing to listen to Mrs. Juarez talk about how lucky we are to have free public education.

I keep thinking about her words … respect the teachers and the rules. I think there is a strong lesson for all parents in her message.

The English-as-a-Second Language class is provided by the Decatur County Schools Adult Education Program in partnership with a Decatur County Arts Council USDA Rural Enterprise grant.

The class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 12:30 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8:30 p.m. Call 248-2210 for more information.