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April 15, 2004

Message from the Governor
This week I had the privilege of meeting several very inspiring teachers at the Washington State Teacher of the Year Awards.

Governor Locke, Terry Bergeson and a Teacher of the Year award recipient

Great teachers are the soul of an enlightened society. We entrust in them the most precious thing we know in life—our children.

This is an act of faith. And I believe we have that faith because each of us knows that in our own lives, we owe much of who we are and what we've achieved to great teachers. We can all name an exceptional teacher who changed our lives.

When I was in third grade, I had another kind of teacher. She used me as an example a lot. I was an example of how not to swing a bat, how not to spell. I dreaded school. I was haunted by thoughts that I was a bad student who would never measure up.

Quote of the Week
“It has been said that 'The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, and the great teacher inspires.' To all of the educators we honor today—congratulations. And thank you for inspiring our children.”
—Governor Locke, April 12, 2004

Then I got to 6th grade, and Mr. Grefton. Mr. Grefton encouraged me. He assigned me a report to write. When I turned it in, Mr. Grefton told me the report was so good that he wanted me to present it to other classes, too.

But what he really conveyed to me was that I had worth. That I could learn. That I could achieve high goals.

Each of us has our own Mr. Gefton. This year's honored teachers will be remembered by their students in the same way.

I am certain that thousands of former students have mentioned the name of the 2004 Washington State Teacher of the Year, Dennis Griner, over the years. He typically puts in 12-14 hour days, teaching history, contemporary world issues, audio-visual communications and driver's education at Garfield-Palouse High School. Mr. Griner has single-handedly developed a state-of-the-art multi-media program at this small school. Over the course of his 32-year teaching career, he has touched countless lives. Dennis Griner's former students face life each day better-prepared because of his influence.

Our teachers change lives every day, and make the world a better place. One student at a time, one day at a time. They are asked to do so much, and we don't give them enough recognition or compensation.

We are committed to higher standards and high achievement for our kids. And it all begins with quality teachers. We must continue to improve our support of teachers, beginning with a permanent, reliable and stable source of education funding.

Henry Adams once observed that a teacher affects eternity, because you can never tell where a teacher's influence stops. The people they teach in turn pass those lessons along. Their influence goes on and on.

Teachers affect eternity. I believe that with all my heart. And so, with all my heart, I thank the teachers we honored this week, and the many more great teachers out there who quietly devote their lives to inspiring our children.

Gary Locke
Gary Locke

Governor's Priorities

News Highlights
Watershed Event in Water Management

Governor Locke participated in a historic milestone for the Nisqually River watershed and the state April 13. The Governor joined elected officials from Thurston, Lewis and Pierce counties to approve the Nisqually watershed plan. It is the state's first watershed plan to be fully approved by the counties that share the watershed. In 1998, the Governor sponsored the Watershed Management Act. The Act created a framework for locally based planning efforts to improve how water is managed for growing populations, farming, fish, wildlife and recreation.

Gov. Locke congratulates county officials on the Nisqually watershed plan “There are some decisions that are appropriate for state government. But when it comes to managing local resources, local solutions work best,” the Governor said. “The Nisqually watershed plan shows that local collaboration is not only possible, but essential if we want to be successful.”

Promoting Washington Businesses in China
Governor Locke shared some of the successes of his most recent trade mission at a conference in Lacey April 9. The purpose of the conference was to help Washington companies do business in China. The Governor's trade mission last October further strengthened the state's trade relationship with China. “The trade mission improved our state's leadership in global commerce,” the Governor said. “The contracts, commitments, and prospects we gained will mean more jobs. The business and agricultural gains are a boost to our state's economy. And we're strengthening our ties to one of the world's most promising markets and extraordinary cultures.”

Protecting Newborns
The Department of Social and Health Services, Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, and the Washington Council for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect have launched a new website informing parents of the safe, legal alternatives to unsafe abandonment of a newborn. The launch coincides with Child Abuse Prevention Month 2004. “I want every parent who is feeling frightened or confused about the birth of a new baby to know that there is no reason to be panicked into abandoning your child,” Governor Locke said. “Our new 'Safety of Newborn Children' website provides safe options and is an important breakthrough in helping parents to do the right thing - the safe thing - for their children and for themselves.”

Success Story - Global Model for Rehabilitating Juvenile Offenders
The state's successful program for rehabilitating young offenders supervised in the community is becoming an international model for success. Several psychiatrists, psychologists, government officials and social service representatives from Amsterdam came to Washington in March to gather information on the program. The 16-member group from the Netherlands met with officials from DSHS and Pierce County to learn more about the Family Functional Therapy treatment program. The officials plan to recreate the model in their own country. The prevention and intervention therapy program treats high-risk youth and their families. In 1999, Washington became the first state in the nation to provide the program statewide. Washington state is now a recognized leader in efforts to use evidence-based programs.

Upcoming Events
4/20:  Earth Day Celebration, Seattle
4/20:  Ask the Governor, KCTS
4/21:  Media Availability, Olympia

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