Message from Hopewell Mayor Jackie Shornak - "A" is for Apple


By Mayor Jackie M. Shornak 

Now that the Fall is upon us and schools have opened, I’m sure the children are excited…..well maybe not all of them, but I know parents are for sure. As I reminisce those days growing up in City Point and walking to Patrick Copeland School, my Mother always made my sisters and I take an apple to our teacher on the first day of school. I always wondered why an apple, why not a bologna sandwich like we had in our lunch bags?

 In the 16th century and throughout many countries, it was a tradition that parents paid teachers with foods like fruits and even potatoes because of their low salaries. Apples happened to be considered special and quite expensive because of the work to plant and cultivate them. From a Biblical viewpoint, the apple was associated with the story of Adam and Eve in which Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. On the other hand, my thinking as a child was it wouldn’t hurt for me to score some “brownie” points with the teacher and get on her good side early on. Times have changed and nostalgic traditions seem to have gone by the wayside. 

Teaching is probably the most challenging profession in today’s world. I have to admit I could not endure the stress that comes with the job. I can still remember the names of my teachers that really had an impact on my life. I put teachers on a pedestal, because not only are they special people who are overworked and underpaid, but their level of responsibility is overwhelming. It would be easy if teachers could just go to their classroom and teach. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Teachers’ skills have expanded to not just the educational field but parenting, counseling, medical, caregivers, disciplinarians, and I could go on and on. No one knows on a daily basis exactly what these people in the educational field face today. 

I am excited to see that in the past year Hopewell Public Schools has made significant progress with accreditation and the way they are approaching reading and math. Yet, there is more work to be done. I am confident that HPS will continue to make great strides in getting to the roots of the problems that the schools and children encounter. I believe everyone in the City joins me in praying for the superintendent, board members, directors, supervisors, teachers, administrators, staff, and bus drivers. I can’t thank you enough for what you do and how much you care about our children. I give a score an A+ to everyone listed above for the upcoming year!