Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated every May, so to all our Educators that work so hard in and out of the classroom every single day we say THANK YOU! You teach and train the future of our state; our children and we cannot thank you enough for all you do.

I'm sure you have all heard this saying before and it likely takes you back to your days of elementary school. I remember the beautifully decorated bulletin boards with colors of flowers, rainbows and other creative scenes. The classroom doors and hallways were all decorated and designed by our teachers. Memories of the classroom sitting in my desk. I remember listening and learning new things from my teacher. Coloring, cutting and gluing were all part of the lessons. Then my mind travels to junior high and then onto high school.

I can almost smell the school hallways and cafeteria, hear the voices of my classmates in the hallways, and see the school playground and courtyard. The trials, the triumphs, the laughs, the friends and the fun times. Yes, the fun times!

We remember our favorite teachers, our stern teachers, the teachers that gave us that hug when life seemed to be too much and encouraged us to keep going. Our coaches who told us not to give up and to do better and although we feared the principals we knew they cared. The janitor that always smiled and asked us how our day was going. The bus driver always seemed to know so much about us and our family. The times of our early years of school formed and guided us.

Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated every May, so to all our Educators that work so hard in and out of the classroom every single day we say THANK YOU! You teach and train the future of our state; our children and we cannot thank you enough for all you do.

That's why I'm proud that my husband, Gov. John Bel Edwards, is advocating for a teacher pay raise this year. It would be the first step in a multi-year plan to bring teacher salaries in line with the southern regional average. He is also pushing to increase funding for the classrooms, which is so critical to our school systems. This pay raise and increase to the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) are long overdue and well deserved. As John Bel says, "The pay raise goes to the teacher, but the investment is in our children."

When I think about successful business women and men in our community, I know their success is in part due to well-educated and dedicated K-12 teachers who taught them the basics like reading, writing and arithmetic and so much more.  From doctors discovering potential cures for diabetes and cancer, to journalists to public servants such as firefighters, police officers and other first responders, there was a teacher who helped start them on their path of success. After all, teaching is the profession that educates all other professions.

Our children are among our most precious assets, and teachers are helping to prepare them to have a bright future, so let’s all show our appreciation during these last days of school. Join me in saying THANK YOU to the teachers who have made a difference in our lives.

God Bless.