Parents Say ‘Thank You’ to Teachers in Winterport 

Teachers at the Leroy H. Smith School in Winterport walked into a fun surprise this morning. Their teachers’ lounge had been transformed, into an Italian eatery.Forget the peanut butter and jelly, these teachers were enjoying gourmet fare this lunch hour.It’s a yearly tradition, courtesy of parents at the school, thanking the teachers for all their hard work.”We run around all morning and we heat things up. We added, last year, breakfast items so they can munch all day long and have things to drink and it works out nice,” says parent Andrea Romesburg.This year’s theme was Italian, complete with desserts. Jennifer Dudley and Andrea Romesburg tell us parents spend hours cooking and putting everything together just right.”We try to come in the night before and try to do all the decorations the night before so when they come in the morning it’s all a huge surprise. And their faces just light right up and they thank us so much. Really, it’s us trying to thank them for everything they do,” Dudley says.”We have a wonderful group of folks working here and they really care about kids, and always make decisions about what’s good for the kids,” says principal Carla Leathem.Leathem says the day lets the teachers know folks in the community support them. The teachers tell us they appreciate the gesture.”It’s something that we really look forward to, and make sure we’re not away at a conference or something. We don’t like to miss Teacher Appreciation Day!” says fifth-grade teacher Sheridan Rawcliffe.After a few minutes kicking back, these teachers were back to work, happy and thankful to the parents in return.”It’s a hard job, but it’s nice to have people recognize what you’re doing is special,” says speech/language pathologist Cindy Dudley.”It’s not the type of job, you know, we don’t get bonus checks of any kind,” Rawcliffe says. “It does make us feel special. It does. I don’t know that they know how much we really appreciate it, but it’s great.”