Brig. Gen. Jason E. Kelly, Fort Jackson commander, speaks to a group of C.C. Pinckney Elementary School teacher during an American Education Week event at the school, Nov. 17.

Teachers play important role in national security

By Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

“During American Education Week, we celebrate the power of public education and thank the educators and staff who do so much to make our public schools the cornerstone of our democracy, prosperity, and strength,” wrote President Joe Biden in a proclamation Nov. 10.

The genesis of American Education Week was a desire by the National Education Association and the American Legion to improve the literacy and fitness of Americans. According to the NEA, the organizations met in 1919 aiming to generate public support for education since “25% of the country’s World War I draftees were illiterate and 9% were physically unfit.”

American Education Week was first observed Dec. 4-10, 1921, but traditionally is held the week prior to Thanksgiving.

The week “in a nutshell, is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate what’s going on in education and to connect schools with the community,” said Taminika Shadd, principal of C.C. Pinckney Elementary School on post.

Brig. Gen. Jason E. Kelly, Fort Jackson commander, spoke to C.C. Pinckney teachers in an event held at school, Nov. 17.

“Your direct connection to the Army, your commitment to serving the Families of our Soldiers is without a doubt a giant contribution to the greatness of our Army readiness and ability to preserve peace,” Kelly said acknowledging the role educators play in national security.

Educators have their hand on a spindle weaving the futures of the nation’s children through education.

“We are grateful for what you do for our children,” he said. “Teachers reveal a child’s potential and helps them unlock what it feels like and set them on course” for the future.

Kelly said he is especially aware of the role educators play in molding youth because his father is “a 33-year educator.”

The students on Fort Jackson are special too, he added. “It’s a special group of kids that didn’t volunteer for the transitory life of a Soldier, but nonetheless, they muster the strength and the bravery to leave behind friends, favorite teachers, and be forced to find new favorites and new friends.”

“So for all of us on Fort Jackson, from one of those kids, thank you for all you do,” he said.