By Conrad Dudderar
Yukon Public Schools’ longest-tenured teacher joined other honored YPS employees to accept some 40 door prizes during the district’s annual back-to-school breakfast.
Renae Williamson, with 47 years of service, was among more than 800 YPS staff members who crowded into the Yukon High School Gym on Monday morning, Aug. 8 for “The Breakfast.”
The 2022-23 school year starts this Thursday, Aug. 11.
Dozens of Yukon businesses and organizations decorated tables and provided special gifts and prizes as a show of appreciation to the Yukon school district’s certified and support personnel.
Highlight of the YPS back-to-school breakfast were words shared by five YHS students – Addison Carson, Emma McMahon, Charlie Hartley, Emma Jeffrey, and Avery Sims.
They talked about the positive and uplifting experiences they’ve had, how much their teachers have meant to them and their passion for Yukon Schools.
“This school has had such an impact on my life,” said Carson, the Yukon FFA Chapter president. “The teachers here want to make sure the students are all caught up on our work, and that we understand what is being taught by doing it in an encouraging and positive environment.”
Hartley offered a heartfelt thank-you to all teachers listening in the audience.
“You shape us who we are and inspire us to do our best,” she said.
A LASTING IMPACT
YPS Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth’s voice cracked while describing a letter he received about five years ago when district administrators supported teachers during a controversial “teacher walkout” that temporarily closed school.
The letter was written by Simeroth’s home economics teacher, who told him his late mother would be so proud of him.
“You follow people for life … whether you know it or not,” Simeroth reminded YPS employees. “You do. And it means a lot.”
The letter came three decades after Simeroth had attended home ec class in high school.
“She took the time because I was one of her kids,” he said, fighting back tears. “They’re always ‘your kids’ – even 30 years later.”
At Monday’s breakfast, the YPS chief and members of his leadership team wore gray T-shirts with the iconic Miller Man logo and words “Yukon Public Schools – Est. 1891.”
The Yukon school district has returned to using the historic Miller Man image as its official mascot.
Although YPS does not have a specific theme for this school year, Simeroth emphasized they are focused on unity.
“Life is going to happen, and we’re going to move right along with it,” the superintendent told YPS teachers and staff. “We’re going to do our jobs and we’re going to teach people.
“We’re going to take the situations that we have. We’re going to do the best that we can. And you guys are going to overcome like you always do.”
YPS will be “loving on” its family this school year – specifically the students and community members, Simeroth added.