Palmetto’s Teacher Appreciation Week

These+signs+were+left+in+the+front+of+the+school+for+all+teachers+to+see+once+they+walked+onto+campus+for+teacher+appreciation+week.+Photo+courtesy+of+Linda+Dwyer.

These signs were left in the front of the school for all teachers to see once they walked onto campus for teacher appreciation week. Photo courtesy of Linda Dwyer.

Angelina Astic, Copy Editor

These signs were left in the front of the school for all teachers to see once they walked onto campus for teacher appreciation week. Photo courtesy of Linda Dwyer.

This year, from May 3 to May 7, Miami Palmetto Senior High School and other schools in the district celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, Palmetto’s PTSA and families found a way to celebrate faculty and staff, whether at school or from home, ensuring that each and every teacher felt appreciated. 

Due to the pandemic, the PTSA and many students got creative with the ways that they expressed their appreciation for teachers. From kind messages, gifts sent virtually and innovative ways to provide staff with food and beverages, it is evident that reinforcing the spirit of community at Palmetto remains important to many. 

“I think the goal this year, as well as last year, for all the teachers, whether they were at home or school, was just to make sure that they got the message that they are appreciated and that all of their hard work was valued throughout the year,” Palmetto PTSA President Virginia Vinueza said. 

One of the favorites among teachers and faculty during Teacher Appreciation Weeks past is food and beverages. With a majority of teachers and faculty at school, the PTSA organized three days of catering centered around different themes. 

On Monday, faculty and staff enjoyed a coffee bar from Cafe a la Carte. For Cinco de Mayo, which fell on Wednesday, faculty received plastic cocktail glasses with cookies inside. To wrap up the week, Crepe Maker came to Palmetto and faculty could go and create their own breakfast crepes. 

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“The coffee bar is one that we get requested every year…The teachers have always asked for that,” Vinueza said. “The cookie was our way of doing something that we could also bring to the teachers that were home…and then the last day was the crepes, which was a dessert crepe during the lunch hour, which was a new thing we did. I think the main idea was just to try to end the week with something fun and easy.” 

As many Palmetto families and faculty subscribe to the PTSA’s newsletter, the idea came about to share daily quotes and words of wisdom from teachers throughout the week. From uplifting messages to important pieces of advice, teachers continue to take each opportunity to educate their students and help them become the best people they can be. 

“I just thought that our teachers give so much to us and our students and I know they hear these words of wisdom in their classes all the time,” Vinueza said. “I thought it would be kind of nice, because not every teacher has every child in our school, but we have a lot of teachers that have a lot of wisdom to share.”

One staff member’s words of wisdom have touched many members of the Palmetto family. Palmetto teacher David Soderholm lost his daughter Rebecca Soderholm, a 2012 Palmetto graduate, in an accident in mid-April. Encouraging students to lean on their support system and to take each day one step at a time, Soderholm’s words serve as much-needed empathy during such a difficult time. 

“I think that he was just so authentic and genuine and sharing something that was so new…but also something that I think that a lot of our students can kind of connect with,” Vinueza said. “His quote and his story just represents so many of our teachers, because it’s not only about him, it’s about how our teachers and staff reached out to him during this time and that he really embraced them as his family and really sees Palmetto as a family. I just can’t say enough about our teachers, our students, and our administrators…I feel like this exemplifies the spirit of all of it and the whole entire week of Teacher Appreciation Week and why we appreciate our teachers so much.”