I attended public school throughout my elementary, middle school, and high school career. I stayed in the same school district. Being small, we all formed relationships not only with our classmates, but with the teachers and associates within our buildings. So today I write to the teachers and associates of my public school system to say thank you. Thank you for helping to make me who I am today.

Thank you to the teachers who taught with passion. There is no doubt that all of you loved the subject you taught. For my elementary teachers who taught all subjects, you could see the passion you had for children. You only wanted to help us be successful. Yes, we tried you patience multiple times, but never once did you give up on us. You taught us how to earn our grades. And I can't thank you enough for that.

Thank you to the associates that helped wherever they were needed. The ones who came and helped with math homework, library check out, watching us at lunch and recess, and occasionally subbed for a period if a teacher needed to step away. You did so much for us behind the scenes, and we never even took the time to thank you. I know it's late, but thank you for everything you did.

Thank you to the school nurse who helped us get through the day. I saw my school nurse more often than most of the kids at my school, and let me tell you, it takes a special kind of person to do that job. You took care of us, showed us kindness and love, but when it came down to it you gave us the "tough love" treatment and sent us back to class.

Thank you to the janitors for picking up after us. We tried to be as neat as we could be, but sometimes we just didn't do as well as others. For cleaning up the puke in the hallway, for mopping up the water we brought in with us from a snowy day, thank you. And I'm sorry for any extreme mud tracks that came through because of me.

Thank you to our principals. You helped the school run and you enforced the rules. While I rarely agreed with your decisions or what you would or would not handle as I got older, you only wanted what was best for your school. So, thank you.

Thank you to our lunch ladies for doing the best they could with what they had. We all know school lunch programs are seriously underfunded, but you tried the best you could to give us something good to eat. You even take the time to remember that you don't want gravy on your potatoes, or that you don't want cheese in your chili. You are amazing people. You don't get nearly enough credit for the work that you do.

Thank you to our bus drivers for getting us safely to and from school. For the times you gave us candy before a break. For the times you turned up the radio or changed the station when we asked. For the early morning pick ups and the late night drop offs. Thank you for all that you did.

Last but not least I need to say thank you to our school secretaries. The ones that know a parent's voice over the phone. The ones that ask how grandma and grandpa are doing. And especially the ones that call you to the office during open house when you are no longer in that building. It is no secret that you really do run the school. You take care of more than just the things in your job description. Thank you for making school a place that feels safe and sound. Because without you we know that our lives would be in utter chaos.

Our public school workers deserve a huge thank you. They do not deserve the treatment they have been getting. I loved my public school experience overall. I knew my teachers cared. My secretary knew me by name, and always asked how my family was. Our public schools hold the real heroes to our nation. And we need to start treating them as such.