Cohn/My Turn: Thankful for our schools

We have lots to be thankful for right here!

Wow! Thanksgiving has come and gone and now the Christmas holidays have started. We really have so much to be thankful for in this community.

We have two educational systems, the Greenfield Public Schools and Greenfield Community College. Both have strong leaders who, with their administrative staff and teachers, have made this area a haven for a better education and opportunity.

The Greenfield Education Foundation has raised over $200,000 for direct support in the public schools in the last four years. Everything from musical instruments to clocks, books, uniforms, cameras, library updates and so much more has been purchased to help where funding falls short. The Foundation provides things that enhance the educational and social experience for all children. We want our public schools to shine, and they do!

The GCC Foundation sets a fundraising goal each year of approximately $800,000. These funds in part are used for scholarships and professional development. It is no small wonder that under the leadership of President Bob Pura, our community college shines brighter in the commonwealth than all others in metrics that count. GCC changes lives forever. You have heard this often because it is true. And I am just one example!

I recently attended the graduation of the Middle Skills Manufacturing Initiative training program at the Franklin County Technical School. Fifteen students of all ages graduated with the skills to enter the workforce, earn a good wage and help secure a brighter future for themselves and their family. It was impressive to see these men receive their certification with their families present. With manufacturing opportunities on the rise, knowing how much they sacrificed now to be able to have better opportunities in the future was very rewarding.

We have Steve Capshaw, owner of Valley Steel Stamp, to thank for getting this new training program off the ground. Steve, along with Greenfield Community College, Patricia Crosby of the Franklin-Hampshire Regional Employment Board, and Jim Laverty from the technical school, together formulated a game plan to address the lack of workers skilled in today’s technology. This collaboration brought funding together from public and private sources to make this program possible. This constructive change in a relatively short period of time was nothing less than spectacular. We have much to be thankful for!

So here we are, in a rural community and our education systems are working well. The attitudes of our educators is high. The pride of helping students is evident. Going “above and beyond” to make education affordable and accessible for all is alive and prospering. This is your community, your schools, your families, your neighbors. We will all come together to make this a terrific place to live. Indeed, we have much to be thankful for!

Robert S. Cohn is president Greenfield Education Foundation and chair of the GCC board of trustees

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