Several hundred teachers, parents, students and administrators packed the Kuna High School Commons Wednesday afternoon for an emotional “education celebration.”
The event was planned as an alternative to protests and a counterbalance to the negativity surrounding the debate over state Superintendent Tom Luna’s education reform.
At the end of the celebration, participants filed out to the sidewalk in front of the high school along Deer Flat Road, each one holding up a number in an effort to illustrate the magnitude of 770 teaching positions statewide that would be cut under the education reform plan.
As chants alternated between “Kill the bill” and “Celebrate teachers,” passersby honked their horns and gave the thumbs up.
The nearly two-hour assembly included speeches from Kuna teachers union president Josh Noteboom, Kuna Superintendent Jay Hummel, assistant superintendent Wendy Johnson, teacher Matt Krumm and school board member Kevin Gifford as well as a performance by the Crimson Point Choir, led by music teacher Sharon Johnson, and a rousing performance of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” by the Ross Raptors Chorus and music teacher Dave Dineen.
A number of students also offered their thanks and support for teachers who have helped them.
The assembly provided a united front for the Kuna school district and sent the message that Kuna will continue to stick together in tough times.
“We will persevere no matter what legislation passes,” Krumm told the audience. “Because this community really has students first.”
The assembly included several poignant moments of emotion.
Johnson became choked up several times as she spoke about working in Kuna, starting her career as a teacher Kuna High under then-principal Jay Hummel and returning to Kuna as an administrator.
“When I went to the dark side to be an administrator, my mother told me, ‘Don’t forget who you are,’” she said, breaking down. “ ‘You’re a teacher.’”