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Posted March 16, 2014

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Superintendent Appreciates Students

Winston Brooks wrote open letters of appreciation and encouragement to APS students in his monthly column that ran in the March 11 Albuquerque Journal.

I just learned about Absolutely Incredible Kid Day, a campaign started by Camp Fire USA that encourages adults to write letters of appreciation, encouragement and inspiration to children.

I love this idea, especially this time of year when we in Albuquerque Public Schools have so much to celebrate. So, in honor of Absolutely Incredible Kid Day on March 20 this year, I’ve written open letters to some of our students, letting them know how much I appreciate them, how inspired I am by their teachers and how encouraged I am about the future when I hear about all the great things going on in our schools.

Dear Selfless Seniors,

We are in our seventh year of honoring some of our most giving high school students. I am always touched by the stories of these awe-inspiring students, and the 27 young men and women who will be recognized during a ceremony on March 27 at La Cueva High School are no exception.

You encourage me, Rebecca Quintana of Highland who volunteers with hospitalized children, and Gabrielle Dao of Atrisco Heritage Academy who works with the elderly. Your humility moves me, Marlene Munoz of Rio Grande who helps schoolmates with disabilities, and Rachel Ruckman of Cibola who assists the homeless. Keep up the good work Sarah King of Eldorado who works with autistic children, and Jorge Salinas of West Mesa who gives of himself through numerous school and community organizations.

You are all indicative of the giving spirit that is so prevalent in APS.

Dear Student Artists,

The Annual Metro Youth Art Exhibit is a celebration of your incredible talent. I am thrilled that nearly 2,000 pieces of artwork created in our fine arts classrooms are on display at the Fine Arts Gallery on the state fairgrounds this month. I appreciate the passion you show for your craft and the guidance you receive from our phenomenal art teachers across the district.

Dear Students of Golden Apple Winners,

I want to thank you for all of your hard work in the classroom. Your success is a direct result of your teachers’ commitment to your education. Year after year, APS teachers receive the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching and this year five more of our teachers will be honored:

• Jonathan Hagmaier, Del Norte High School

• Sherry Lober, Albuquerque High

• Eric Strauss, Albuquerque High

• Sean Thomas, Eldorado High

• Rachel Weihe, Del Norte High

I encourage you students to thank these and all of your teachers for their efforts. You and I are the beneficiaries of their dedication; they make us all look outstanding.

Dear Student Athletes,

We are so proud of those who step out onto the field or mat or court to represent APS, including the athletes who will compete in this month’s state basketball tournament.

You have managed to balance athletics with academics, and your strength, perseverance and sportsmanship are critical skills that will help you excel in society. I cheer for you and wish you the best of luck.

Dear APS Students,

Don’t forget to thank the EAs at your school, who were among more than 2,000 in APS recognized on Educational Assistant Day earlier this month. A single day of gratitude doesn’t convey my own appreciation for all they do to help you, and assist our teachers and administrators. They are the unsung heroes of our district.

I close these letters with a tremendous thank you. I couldn’t be more proud of all that is going on in our district. You, students, are appreciated members of our team. You make us shine.

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