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To Our Teachers

In honor of teacher appreciation month, some of us at Seacoast Students for Sustainability wanted to write messages for the teachers who have inspired us throughout our journies and helped us grow as young activists.

"When I think about why I’m involved in climate activism, my answer boils down to this: I have been guided by dedicated teachers. Throughout my life, my schoolteachers have educated me on the climate crisis and laid out the pathway for action. They’ve believed in my capacity to make a difference in this world.

Because they taught me to ask questions, I asked myself why I couldn’t be the one to do something. Because they told me I could do hard things, I organized my first rally. Because they encouraged me to make my voice heard, I called my legislators for the first time. Because they did not shy away from feedback, I am resilient in the face of overwhelming odds.

I want to extend my gratitude to the following teachers: Momoko-Sensei at Nisshou Yōchien, Encho-Sensei at Nisshou Yōchien, Maestra Stella Parrisi at the Instituto Paritario San Giuseppe, Mrs. Corrine Gagnon at Shapleigh Middle School, Mrs. Lauren Byrnes at VLACS, Mrs. Pauline Landrigan at VLACS, and my beautiful mother. Thank you to all the teachers in this world.

- Loreley Godfrey (18) from Portsmouth, New Hampshire"

“Good teachers have a profound effect on the world’s well-being. For example: if it weren’t for my high school ecology teacher, Dr Kimberly McGlinchey, I would never have gotten into the sustainability field. During her time at Portsmouth High School, her wisdom and encouragement inspired dozens of students to pursue activism and social justice — myself included. Dr McGlinchey was instrumental in helping me & my fellow students found Seacoast Students 4 Sustainability ( in 2021.

My English, Spanish, and Social Studies teachers at PHS — namely Helaine Wemple, Tara Hebert, Kristin Artinano, Meg Martin, Joanne Mainella, Kate Fitzpatrick, Patrick Ganz, Lisa McAllister, Cynthia Young, and Allie McGrimley — have always reminded me that the world is worth paying close attention to. Their belief in students’ creative powers has been central to the most enjoyable parts of my education.

Also at PHS: Vera Haus, Courtney Ritchings, Gordon Reynolds, Eric Moore, Tamara Carrigan, and Geoffrey Jablonski have served as role models and as inspiration for my future. A special thanks to college counselor Brittany Lind, whose guidance has made the next chapters of life feel manageable.

The world is filled with wonderful teachers and educators. This month, stop to thank someone whose guidance has helped you make the world a better place.

All educators deserve better pay. Always advocate for their rights and fair compensation wherever you can. Our future depends on it.

- Benjamin Doyle, PHS Class of 2023”

"There have been many influences in my life who have inspired my passion for the environment. Growing up, I had parents who took me for nature walks every Sunday, enrolled me in outdoor education classes, and encouraged environmental awareness. My parents were both food and waste conscious people, so I was taught about the impact of my decisions through what I consumed. I was fortunate enough to attend schools that let me explore my interests in science. In elementary school, we went outside to garden, tap trees for maple, and observe vernal ponds. In middle school, our teachers often took us outside for class, or let us explore plant cells and even our own hair cells with microscopes. I continued to take science electives in high school, my favorite being microbiology, and followed my sister’s suggestion to join my school’s environment group as an avenue for environmental change.

When I realized I wanted to do more environmental advocacy, I elected to take a class titled Society and Sustainability at an educational summer program. My teacher for the class, Courtney, gave me tools and insight which changed and widened my perception on sustainability. Society is often overlooked when studying the environment. By teaching the intersection of society and the environment, through concepts like race, poverty, and economics, my teacher inspired me to use my voice not only for the environment, but for the health of my community. The most important message Courtney inspired me to share is that sustainability goes beyond the environment. It is the core of our society. We must take care of society and the land we live on to sustain our communities, and this takes using our voices to create conversations, action, and change. Without Courtney’s guidance for the five weeks at the summer program, I would have never discovered how passionate I am about advocating for sustainability in my community. "

- Kira Bailey, PHS '23

"My teachers are the ones who have inspired me throughout my whole life and have perpetually made me want to be the best person that I could be. Although I don't have any specific teachers to call out, they've all shown me the qualities of a person who loves and is immensely passionate about what they do, which is exactly what young people like me need to have to look up to. I plan to go on to become a teacher to inspire children to make the world the place they want it to be, and I would never ever be here without my teachers.

Jill Covey, Dover 2023."

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