NC TEACHER OF THE YEAR: “North Carolina should provide school meals to all students. It did for me.”

In an editorial published in the Greensboro News & Record, 2022 NC Teacher of the Year Leah Carper, from Guilford County Schools, tells a personal story in support of School Meals for All NC:

As an adult, I recognize that there is no shame in being poor. I’m grateful for my upbringing and the example my mom set for working hard and valuing education, which helped me realize my potential to become a teacher. However, I also recognize that I was a teenager years ago. Being a teenager is hard enough without enduring burdens like feeling inferior to our peers daily while just trying to get fed. We can eliminate this specific burden.

In North Carolina, our policymakers can be rescuers this session including no-cost school meals for all in the state budget regardless of a student’s background.

They can exhibit grace and kindness while reaping the benefits of a fed and focused student body. By providing school meals for all students at no cost to families, we will feed hungry children and help them reach their greatest potential. Hungry students are distracted students. They’re more likely to act out in class, fall asleep, be quick to feel anger, shut down and not give 100%. Hungry students need help to actualize their potential. We must feed their bodies so we can feed their minds.

Think about all the students who, right now, are sitting in North Carolina classrooms hungry for change, and ask yourself if you can be a rescuer. After all, one of those students might become a North Carolina Teacher of the Year.

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