Bethlehem Chamber event honors district's teachers
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Some teachers from the Bethlehem Area School District were celebrated at an event Thursday hosted by the city's Chamber of and the district. State of the Schools featured BASD Superintendent Joe Roy, teachers from elementary, middle and high schools and students.
The presentation focused on the role of teachers to nurture and educate students from small children to young adults ready to head off to college or a career.
- The Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and the city's school district held an event honoring teachers
- Teachers discussed their experiences
- It also featured a performance by choral singers from Liberty and Freedom high schools
Roy said all children in the area are welcome at the city’s schools and emphasized his commitment to building a sense of belonging in all of them.
“Our doors are open to every child who lives in our district regardless of background, religion, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual preference, race, immigration status, socio-economic background,” he said. “It doesn’t matter. If you live here, you’re welcome at a public school.”
Liberty and Freedom high school seniors Tahlia Colon and Josiah Peters spoke about their experiences in the district and the impact teachers had on their lives.
Peters said medical conditions early in his life left him feeling shy and isolated, but with encouragement, he got involved in theater, choir and other activities.
“I could not have done this, nor would I be here, without the overwhelming support the teachers and the district provided me,” Peters said. “And the courage to truly find my voice.”
Teachers Candy Maldonaldo, Becky Keptner and Richard Little joined Roy for a discussion about what it’s like to be a teacher while encouraging audience members to apply for open positions with the district. Maldonaldo teaches first grade at Lincoln Elementary School, Keptner teaches eighth grade at Broughal Middle School and Little is chair of the Science department at Liberty.
“Our doors are open to every child who lives in our district regardless of background, religion, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual preference, race, immigration status, socio-economic background."BASD Superintendent Joe Roy
All three teachers said building trust with kids and parents is an important part of their jobs. Maldonaldo said by the end of the year she wants her students to be confident in their abilities and reading at grade level.
Keptner said the push to have students reading at level by third grade is paying off when students are reaching her class. She is focused on making sure they know how to write compositions and make arguments.
“And then socially, don’t accept defeat,” she said. “I think eighth grade, middle school in general is full of defeating moments. I’m sure you can all think of one.”
Maldonaldo said she worries her students will grow up and forget her.
“They forget who they had in elementary school, especially kindergarten and first because they had so much experience with other teachers who are leaving an impact,” she said. “And they’re older and remembering those teachers.”
The event also included a choral performance by students of both high schools.