(CBS SF) — If you can write an essay, thank a teacher.  If you learned a second language, thank a teacher. If you know how to spell “receive,” thank a teacher. Those are just some of the memes and quotes you’ll see as we approach National Teacher Day on Tuesday, May 6th, 2014.

The national event to honor educators is part of an all-out media blitz by the National Education Association to give attention to the profession and the challenges facing America’s more than 3 million teachers.

The event isn’t officially recognized as a national day. Congress did proclaim a single day back in 1980 to honor teachers, but it’s not an official annual declaration, so the NEA urges supporters to lobby their legislator to make a proclamation.

NEA: Thank A Teacher Day Resources

The hashtag #ThankATeacher will be used to promote the event, often followed by the names of someone who made a significant difference in your life or those of your family.

SHARE: Do you have a teacher you want to thank? Share how they made a difference in your life or that of your family on the KPIX and KCBS Facebook pages or comment below.

Celebrities, athletes, and politicians also shared their most memorable teaches with the NEA:

(Source: NEA.org)

Patti LaBelle, Singer

Ms. Eileen Brown

John Bartram High School

Philadelphia, PA

“Ms. Brown was very special because she was my mentor. She was

very helpful to my family and me. She and I became close friends

and are good friends. After so many years, we still spend time

talking on the phone.”

Constance Marie, Actress, “The George Lopez Show”

Ms. Nancy Strict

Hancock Park Elementary School

Los Angeles, CA

“During one of our art projects, Ms. Strict (third grade teacher)

pointed out to me how good I was. She gave me one-on-one time and

went on to say that I was great at recreating the details on my

art project. I, of course, grew more confident in my work

and majored in art.”

Megan Mullally, Actress, “Will and Grace”

Mr. Steven C. Surbeck

Casady School

Oklahoma City, OK

“My high school English teacher, who for some reason assigned me

the role of Portia in The Merchant of Venice when we read it aloud

in class—it was the first time I’d ever done anything remotely

like acting, and I thought, hmmmmm…”

Zoe Saldana, Actress

Ms. Dilia Mieses

Ritmos Espacio de Danza

Dominican Republic

“Dilia taught me the importance of perseverance and discipline one

must have in order to obtain results that will bring you happiness

and success.”

Ruben Studdard, Singer

Mr. Joseph Smith

L.M. Smith Middle School

Birmingham, AL

“Mr. Smith introduced me to so many genres of music and taught me

how to appreciate them all.”

Hilary Swank, Actress

Mr. Eric Sellereit

Happy Valley Elementary

Bellingham, Washington

“Mr. Sellereit gave me my first acting job in my school production

of The Jungle Book!”

Wilmer Valderrama, Actor

Mr. Edwin Tucker,

Taft High School

Los Angeles, CA

“Mr. Tucker has never forgotten what he has in common with his

students…which is that he was a kid once, therefore he will

always be able to be heard by his students, who feel 100 percent

respected and validated.”

Michelle Williams, Singer, Member of Former Grammy-Award

Winning Destiny’s Child

Mr. Chuck Powers

Jackson Elementary School

Rockford, IL

“Wow….I have more than one memorable teacher……ummmmmm let me

see……..my elementary school sixth grade teacher….his name is

Mr. Powers from Jackson Elementary School in Rockford, IL. Mr

Powers had a way of connecting with his students and not being

judgmental. He was easy to talk to yet he was stern. Mr Powers was

a man who even the meanest child didn’t want to disrespect! I

also liked the fact that we would have ‘Subway’ days where we’d order Subway sandwiches and eat them in class around lunchtime!

You know, as a kid, things like that mean something…“

Oprah Winfrey, Entrepreneur

Ms. Mary Duncan

Wharton Elementary School

East Nashville, TN

“Teachers are often the people who inspire us the most. I know I

wouldn’t be where I am today without my fourth grade teacher, Mrs.

Duncan. She so believed in me, and for the first time, made me

embrace the idea of learning. I learned to love learning because

of Mrs. Duncan.”


Doug Atchison, Director and Writer, “Akeelah and the Bee”

Mr. Robert Larabell

Arcadia High School

Phoenix, AZ

“Mr. Larabell challenged me as a writer, demanded discipline in my

use of language, and inspired me to deeper levels of critical

thought—and he did all of this with a high level of erudition and

a whip-smart sense of humor.”

Robert L. Curbeam, Jr., (Captain, USN), NASA Astronaut

Dr. Frances (Kosnik) Alderson

Woodlawn Junior High School

Baltimore County, MD

“She taught me the importance of foreign language in the education

of a successful person, regardless of their primary course of

study. I still use my German to this day in both work and social

situations, and I have since taken classes in both Russian and


John Paul DeJoria, CEO and Co-Founder, Paul Mitchell

Mr. Wachs

John Marshall High School

Los Angeles, CA

“Mr. Wachs was my 11th grade business teacher at John Marshall

High School in Los Angeles, and his big impact came when he caught

me and my friend Michelle passing notes during his lecture. He

announced to the class that Michelle and I were the two students

least likely to succeed in the entire school. He wasn’t entirely

right. Michelle became Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the

Poppas and she’s in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and I did all

right eventually. But, in a way he was very much right because if

you don’t pay attention when knowledge or opportunity come your

way, you’re going to be the loser. And if you have knowledge, you

can make opportunity happen. There came a moment as a young

adult when I was living in the back of my car and picking up pop

bottles to feed my son. I remembered Mr. Wachs’ insistence on

focus. So I focused on the fact that I had once successfully sold

encyclopedias door to door. If you can do that, you can do

anything. It restored my determination and self belief.”

Ed Lu, NASA Astronaut

Mr. Jack Yengo

R.L. Thomas High School (now called Webster Thomas)

Webster, NY

“Coach Yengo taught us the value of hard work and perseverance.“

Steve Robinson, Astronaut

Ms. Betty Doke

Rheem School

Moraga, CA

“Mrs. Doke was a science teacher (now retired but still very

active in California education). She was the most encouraging

teacher I have known and worked tirelessly to develop her

students’ individual talents and interests. She applied great

creativity to her presentation of the world of science, and each

student was made to feel that his or her own special interests

were the highest priority to Mrs. Doke. Her encouragement for my

own interest in science and engineering was a significant force in

my choice of careers, and she has stayed in touch by attending

each of my launches on the space shuttle.”


Ethan Albright, Guard, Washington Redskins Mr. Joe Franks

Grimsley Senior High School

Greensboro, NC

“Joe’s passion and enthusiasm for teaching makes learning in his

classroom a joy. It is very unique to be able to connect with

high school kids and to teach with such a genuine caring attitude

the way Joe is able to do it.”

Mark Bruener, Tight End, Houston Texans

Mr. Randy Hancock

Aberdeen High School

Aberdeen, WA

“Mr. Hancock’s dedication to his students was unmatched by any of

my teachers. He taught his students how to be young adults. He

encouraged us to look further than just the surface with

everything we did. I can honestly say he was a big inspiration for


Marc Burch, Forward, Los Angeles Galaxy

Mr. Ken Poe

Turpin High School

Cincinnati, OH

“He taught my whole family and taught in a special way.”


“In ninth grade, my mom was my teacher in English…so in the

grander scheme, she is DEFINITELY my favorite!”

Chris Burke, Second Baseman, Houston Astros

Mr. John Price

St. Xavier High School

Louisville, KY

“The reason I liked Mr. Price so much was because he had a wealth

of knowledge about everything. He had stories and little tales

that weren’t in text books. He wasn’t just reading along with us.

He added a lot of insight and actually made history fun.”

Zack Crockett, Running Back, Oakland Raiders

Mr. James L. Jones

“Mr. James L. Jones (principal) played the roll of father,

teacher, and friend, especially when I had my oldest daughter when

I was 16. I could have easily steered off into the wrong

direction, but he pushed me to be a great father. He picked my

classes so that I got the best education and made sure I kept a

certain GPA for my college years. [He] instilled in me the goal

of going to college—not only to go but get a degree to better my

life …”

Steve Cronin, Goalkeeper, Los Angeles Galaxy

Mrs. Weldon

Earl LeGette Elementary School

Fair Oaks, CA

“She taught me and cared the most. I still visit her when I am in


Landon Donovan, Forward, Los Angeles Galaxy

Mrs. Godding

Edison Elementary School

Ontario, CA

“She taught me how to grow up using positive methods.”

Brian Dunseth, Defender, Los Angeles Galaxy

Mr. Derrick Kerr

Damien, La Verne, CA

“He was my Spanish teacher and soccer coach.”

Michael Enfield, Forward/Midfield, Los Angeles Galaxy

Dennis Enfield

Ventura High School

Ventura, CA

“He cared for all of his students and spent time outside of school

to help students in school and life. He stressed improvement as a

grading priority as well as encouraged students to have fun. He

was a passionate teacher as well as funny.”

Jay Feely, Kicker, New York Giants

Mr. Robert Weiner

Jesuit High School

Tampa, FL

“Without question the best teacher I ever had was Robert Weiner …

He inspired as well as educated, and his life was the greatest

educational tool he had. I respected him so much I asked him to be

the best man at my wedding!”

Josh Gardner, Left Midfielder, Los Angeles Galaxy

Mrs. Rayford

Creek High School

Kary, TX

“She pushed me to get better grades and never allowed me to just

get by.”

Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, Linebacker, San Diego Chargers

Mr. Guy Reed

Audubon Junior High School

Los Angeles, CA

“Mr. Reed is truly committed to excellence as a math teacher. He

is not only a teacher of math but a teacher of life. He helped me

understand the meaning of commitment by having perfect attendance

for 30 years. He never took a day off. That motivated me on and

off the field.”

Chris Gomez, Third Baseman, Baltimore Orioles

Mr. Rob Wigod

“[H]e was a great mentor, not only was he a great teacher but [he

also was] a good baseball coach.”

Alan Gordon, Striker, Los Angeles Galaxy

Mrs. Keller

Gilbert High School

Gilbert, AZ

“She was a teacher who really cared about me and wanted me to make

something out of myself, when times were bad. If not for her, I

would not be here today.”

Kevin Hartman, Goalkeeper, Los Angeles Galaxy

Mr. Mills

Belle Heth Elementary School

Radford, VA

“Mr. Mills was always mixing things up so that everyone was

interested. He made learning very exciting.”

Ramon Hernandez, Catcher, Baltimore Orioles


“My dad …. always pushed me hard and wanted me to do the best I

could in everything. When everything goes bad, he taught me to

keep my head up. He gave me a lot of confidence.”

Larry Izzo, Linebacker, New England Patriots

Ms. Jo Ann Pearson

Broad Run High School

Ashburn, VA

“She was good friends with my varsity football coach, Jerry Smith,

and she helped keep me focused on my schoolwork so that I would be

able to continue to excel in athletics. Without her constant

motivation, I wouldn’t have achieved what I have achieved in my

life thus far. I am very grateful that I had people like her and

Coach Smith looking out for me when I needed some direction in my


Nick Leckey, Center, Arizona Cardinals

Ms. Bennie Gillam

Timberline Elementary School

Grapevine, TX

“She really cared about us. I still get letters from her to this

day. She has even seen me play versus the Cowboys. She would

have mystery readers who would come in and read a story to us and

hang out for a bit with us and help with our schoolwork. It has

inspired me to read to kids on Tuesdays during the season. We

always did cool things like International Day where everyone brought food from another country. My mom brought up a crepe

maker and we had crepes with powdered sugar and syrup, it was so

much fun. She is always happy and upbeat, a person who truly

loves her job. She made coming to school fun day in and day out.”

Brad Lidge, Pitcher, Houston Astros

Mr. Coble

Cherry Creek High School

Denver, CO

“He taught World History and World Geography and he was extremely

smart and very animated. He loved what he was doing and he has

made me like it ever since.”

Rodrigo Lopez, Pitcher, Baltimore Orioles

Ms. Elisa

“[S]he really was passionate about teaching, she could handle all

subjects and I learned a lot from her.”

Darnerien McCants, Wide Receiver, Philadelphia Eagles

Mr. Donald Becker

Delaware State University

Dover, DE

“He set me free as an artist.”

Melvin Mora, Third Baseman, Baltimore Orioles

Mr. Walter Rodriguez

“[He] was the one who made me play baseball.”

Roy Oswalt, Pitcher, Houston Astros

Coach Gant (health teacher, football/baseball coach)

Weir High School

Weir, MS

“My favorite teacher was my Health teacher, Coach Gant. He was

also my football coach and baseball coach. As a teacher and

coach, he got the most out of me and really got me to push


Chad Qualls, Pitcher, Houston Astros Mr. Stockstill

Eschelman Avenue School

Lomita, CA

“Mr. Stockstill was my first grade teacher and he taught me all of

the subjects. I am a big math guy and I have to thank him for

that. I remember the different card games he would play with us to

help us learn addition. I had a lot of fun in his class.”

Shelton Quarles, Linebacker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ms. Joan Woods

Whites Creek High School

Whites Creek, TN

“She took a vested interest in me as a person and not an athlete.

She inspired me to be the best that I could be in the classroom

and that would translate to me being a better player on the

football field. Ultimately, her instruction allowed me to take

tougher honors classes in high school, which in turn prepared me

to be a good student at Vanderbilt University, one of the most

prestigious universities in the country.”

Troy Roberts, Defender, Los Angeles Galaxy

Mr. Mcloed

Mattos Elementary School

Fremont, CA

“He was a great motivator and always willing to help students

achieve their goals.”

Brian Schneider, Catcher, Washington Nationals

Mr. Joe Schwartz

Northampton Junior High School

Northampton, PA

“Mr. Schwartz was one of my favorite teachers because he treated

everyone with respect and was not just your teacher but also was a

friend. He gave the extra effort to help you at all costs.”

Miguel Tejada, Shortstop, Baltimore Orioles

Mr. Enrique Soto

“[He] helped me to get to the big leagues.”

Jamie Watson, Forward, Real Salt Lake

Mr. Kelly Hayes

Coppell High School

Coppell, TX

“Everyday, he met the class with a smile and brought an attitude

that was contagious to having fun, and learning at the same time.

This was always one of the classes i looked forward to going to

daily. I still keep in touch with him and when my brother recently

was in the hospital suffering from an illness, he was right there

by his side, just to be there for him. Brett had also been in Mr.

Hayes’ class and this just shows what kind of person he is as well

as being a great mentor for every kid he teaches. This man has

touched my life and helped show me some of the characteristics

that a man should strive to be.”

Preston Wilson, Left Field/Center Field, Houston Astros

Ms. Duffoer

Bamberg-Erhardt High School

Bamberg, SC

“Ms. Duffoer taught me English my senior year. She was patient

with everybody. I don’t know how it happened but I was her

teacher’s pet. She was one of the teachers throughout the school

that everyone said was really tough, but I got along great with

her and I did really well in her class.”


Rep. Gary L. Ackerman (D-NY)

Mrs. Eva Ackerman (mother)

“[S]he taught me everything I know.”

Rep. Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ)

Ms. Jean C. Parks

Bellmawr Public Schools

Bellmawr, NJ

“Mrs. Parks, my kindergarten teacher, combined the qualities of

great storyteller, life-lessons teacher, and loving mother. I

still keep in touch with her and cherish her friendship and love.”

Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA)

Miss Osbourne

Bartow High School

Barstow, CA

“Miss Osborne always motivated me to set high goals for myself and

was an encouraging teacher. Those kinds of teachers really don’t

come along that often. But she helped to build my confidence, set

me in the right direction, and gave me the ‘si se puede’ attitude

that I could do anything I set my mind to.”

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

Mr. Robert Prugh

West High School

Madison, WI

“Mr. Prugh made the 1980 Presidential elections (the first

Presidential election in which I could vote) come alive in the

classroom. I already had the political bug, before taking his

class, but he certainly nurtured my interest in policy and the

political process.”

Sen. Evan B. Bayh (D-IN)

Mr. Ferdinand Ruge

St. Albans School

Washington, D.C.

“Mr. Ruge was an inspirational teacher who instilled in me a love

for a vanishing art form: written English. He emphasized clear,

concise prose-not common among practitioners of my current


Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-UT)

Mr. G. Homer Durham

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

“He had a radical notion about education. He said ‘the most

important course in the political science department is Political

Science 1. Since I am the department head, it follows that I

should teach the department’s most important course.’ … [He]

taught me about the Constitution and James Madison and Thomas Jefferson and the constitutional convention. Through his

instruction, I read the Federalist Papers and began a lifelong

love affair with political theory and the Constitution. I’ve

always appreciated the insights I gained under the tutelage of G.

Homer Durham. Even today, 50 years later, as I continue my work in

the U.S. Senate, and strive to meet the responsibilities of my

office, I find that I frequently harken back to the days at the

University of Utah and Dr. Durham’s Political Science 1 class, and

how applicable and valuable those lessons still are today. He

certainly made a difference in my life.”

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV)

Mr. Gary Bedunna

Mr. Herb Baker

Mr. Charlie Silvertery

Valley High School

Las Vegas, NV

Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA)

Mr. Lester Rutland

Central High School

Mobile, AL

“Mr. Rutland encouraged and inspired [me] to become involved in

student government and eventually run for school, district, and

state Student Council President positions.”

Rep. Timothy H. Bishop (D-NY)

Mr. Clyde Thompson

Southampton High School

“Mr. Thompson instilled in me a fascination with government and

public service, as well as an appreciation for history. He also

taught me how to write.”

Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO)

Missouri Teachers

“As a former teacher, I recognize the challenges facing today’s

educators and appreciate their hard work and dedication to young

people. We must work to ensure that the education system of the

United States is second to none. I had many wonderful teachers

over the years and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the teachers in Southwest Missouri and throughout the

United States for investing their time and energy into the most

important resource we have.”

Rep. Leonard L. Boswell (D-IA)

Rose Varner

Thompson School

Ringold County, IA

“Mrs. Varner taught me that reading books would open the world to

me and encouraged me to always do better. Her inspiration has been

a guiding light throughout my life.”

Rep. F. Allen Boyd, Jr. (D-FL)

Ms. Blanche Clarke

Aucilla Christian Academy

Monticello, FL

“Ms. Clarke was the first teacher I had outside of my parents. At

the time, there was no kindergarten or pre-school, so she had the

awesome task of teaching my class of first and second graders what

it meant to be in a classroom-how to sit still, listen, and learn.

Ms. Blanche took our young wonder in the world and showed us how

to concentrate it into a structured educational goal.”

Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN)

Ms. Florence Geisler

Public School 73

Indianapolis, IN

“She was the most dedicated teacher I ever had. She was tough but

fair and always went the extra mile for her kids and students.”

Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV)

Mrs. W. J. B. Cormany

Mark Twain High School

Raleigh County, WV

“She taught me to put my best efforts into everything I undertake,

a lesson so important that it has remained with me to this day.”

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)

Mr. Arthur “Art” Van Matre

“He left quite an impression on [me] and really taught [me] a lot

about character.”

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI)

Ms. Rosemary Baker

HH Dow High School

Midland, MI

“Thank you for bringing intelligence and a sense of humor to the classroom. You took teaching

to a higher level. I still remember you giving me the Latin and Greek derivations of many words

in English class at HH Dow High School in Midland, Michigan. You were truly an inspiration to

this student and many others. I will always remember your dedication and your belief in your

students. Thank You.”

Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA)

Miss Lacey

Sackajewa Elementary School

Richland, WA

“[Miss Lacey] inspired a love of writing.”

Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO)

Ms. Beverly Buchheit

Shepard Elementary School

St. Louis, MO

“As an active leader in local St. Louis politics, Beverly

inspired, encouraged, and supported my public service.”

Rep. Michael Castle (R-DE)

Mrs. Buckles

Tower Hill Private School

Wilmington, DE

“Mrs. Buckles taught me grammar.”

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH)

Ms. Parma (Fiero) Samad

St. Catherine of Siena School

Cincinnati, OH

“Ms. Fiero emphasized learning about other countries. I remember

one assignment, which I especially enjoyed, required us to conduct research into other countries and cultures. Ms. Fiero asked us to

put together a booklet that contained information about countries

from around the world. I was fascinated by what I learned and this

really sparked my interest in world affairs. I now serve on the

House International Relations Committee, and I root my interest in

world affairs in Ms. Fiero’s lessons.”

Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI)

Dr. Tommie Johnson

High School of Commerce

“Dr. Tommie Johnson of the High School of Commerce made learning

fun and reinforced my belief that I had the potential to

accomplish anything. Helping young people understand the power of

their dreams is a wonderful motivator and something that I worked

to instill in my students when I was a teacher and continue to

share with my children, grandchildren, and America’s youth.”

Del. Donna M. Christensen (D-VI)

Ms. Mercedes Jackson

St. Mary’s Catholic School

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

“In addition to being no-nonsense, she was encouraging and

understanding of the ways of a second grader, as the only African

American and local teacher … Ms. Jackson became a role model for


Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC)

Rosemary Murphy

Kernodle Middle School

Greensboro, NC

“I thank you once again for your invitation to your school. I very much enjoyed my time with

the staff and students. You are an outstanding public school educator. I value the friendship of

you and your family. Best regards to you and your professional and personal families.”

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)

Ms. Emma Grace Cochran

Byram High School

Jackson, MS

“Her enthusiasm for learning was contagious. She had a great sense

of humor and made being in her classroom fun, and at the same time

inspired all her students to work hard and do their very best.”

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)

Miss Barbie

Roosevelt High School

Bismarck, ND

“She was warm, engaging, and made me think.”

Leland Skabo

Roosevelt High School

Bismarck, ND

“He also made me stretch my thinking. Each of these teachers

commanded respect, and any one of them could have been a United

States Senator. I am grateful for the impact they have had on my


The Senator was raised by his grandmother, who was a teacher and

always emphasized the importance of education in the household.

Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN)

Ms. Coy Summerford

Madison Street Elementary

Shelbyville, TN

“The only paddling I ever got in school was from her, and I

deserved it. She was strict, but she was brilliant. I was in her

class when John F. Kennedy was shot.

Rep. John Culberson (R-TX)

Ms. Sylvia Norton

West University Elementary

Houston, TX

“[She] encouraged my lifelong love of learning and helped me learn

to respect and get along with others.”

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD)

Mr. Hollis Posey

Baltimore, MD

“Mr. Posey was the person who convinced me that I could achieve

anything if I worked hard and simply believed.”

Prior to having Mr. Posey, Rep. Cummings was placed in special

education because he was told that he “talked too much.” Mr.

Posey’s encouragement helped Rep. Cummings leave special education

and enter into Baltimore’s prestigious Baltimore City College High

School, from where his colleagues Reps. Ruppersberger and Cardin

also graduated, go to Howard University, and then on to law


Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL)

Ms. Beaddie King

No school name

Parkdale, AR

“Ms. Beaddie was an inspiration and such a wonderful teacher.

[S]he was my kindergarten teacher and then later on she was my

English and literature teacher when I graduated from high school.”

Congressman Davis grew up in rural Arkansas where school was in

session only five months a year. He attended a one-room school.

Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT)

Sister Margaret Ellen

Marymount College

Arlington, VA

Rep. Charles W. Dent (R-PA)

Mr. Robert Fisher

Allen High School

“He taught courses in the Cold War and helped stimulate [my]

interest in foreign policy. He actively promoted critical thinking

among his students.”

Rep. Norman D. Dicks (D-WA)

Ms. Charlotte Dunn

Naval Avenue Elementary School

Bremerton, WA

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT)

Ms. Peterson

East School West Hartford, CT

“Mrs. Peterson was a tremendously positive teacher. In first

grade, she pinned a note for my mom on the back of my jacket that

read: ‘Let the proudest boy in West Hartford read his first book

to you!’ Mrs. Peterson’s enthusiasm was contagious and gave me

confidence to try new things and succeed.”

Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (R-ND)

Ms. Deloras Tollefson

“[She is an] English teacher, still correcting his work!”

Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY)

Mr. Charles Popovich

Sheridan High School

Sheridan, WY

“Thank you! I still remember my geometry and trigonometry courses that you taught me. You

helped to get me interested in numbers and that probably started me down the road to my getting

into accounting. Then, when I served as Mayor of Gillette, you were Sheridan’s Athletic

Director. You helped get everyone interested in our local football rivalries and that has lasted to

this day. I have often said that one of the great joys of life is learning and keeping an active

curiosity about all the different things we encounter in life. You helped instill that philosophy in

me and I am still learning new things as I find

Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC)

Ms. Flossie Barber

Cleveland School

Clayton, NC

“In Memoriam: If I could talk to you today, I would tell you that your early lessons enabled me

to achieve my goals and more. You never accepted anything but the best from me. by being

stern and tough, but always caring with each and every student, you exemplified what teaching

should be. Thank you.”

Coach Bruce Coats

Cleveland School

Clayton, NC

“You taught me what it meant to be a member of a team and how to contribute to the greater

good. You understood what it means to do the homework, and that getting the job done lays the

groundwork to achieve at a later date. I thank you for being the ultimate one-on-one teacher, and

helping me to reach my goals in life. Thank you.”

Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA)

Ms. Enid Larson

Carmel High School

Carmel, CA

“She never used books, but rather she taught students to find

their own answers to questions…In this way she was developing

potential and encouraging students to understand their own

capacities and how to do good with those.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Ms. Virginia Ryder

Grant School

San Francisco, CA

“She took me under her wing, giving me individual attention, and

enabled me to go to a good high school. On this National Teacher

Day, I thank Ms. Ryder for her extraordinary service and thank all

of the wonderful teachers across the country who work tirelessly

to ensure that our children reach their highest potential.”

Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA)

Ms. Erin Filner

Fox Lane Middle School

Bedford, NY

“My daughter, Erin Filner, inspires me each and every day—as she goes into her middle school

social studies classes at Fox Lane Middle School, Bedford, NY, and gives all her energy,

creativity and commitment to 150 students—who themselves are inspired to learn, think, and

critique. Thank you, Erin!”

Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA)

The Honorable Harry B. Blevins (current member of Virginia Senate)

Great Bridge High School

Chesapeake, VA

“He raised the funds to send me to the first Presidential

Classroom for Young Americans, saying if they can train one

student in government, he would then come back and make a

difference in the community and help train others.”

Res. Com. Luis Fortuño (R-Puerto Rico)

Brother Francisco Guezmes Colegio Marista

Guaynabo, PR

“He was special because he instilled in me a desire to speak and

write correctly, and [he] was an example of how hard work pays


Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)

Mr. Jack Norton

Crossnore High School

Crossnore, NC

“I grew up exceptionally poor and worked as my high school’s

janitor while I was a student in order to help my family. Mr.

Norton recognized my talents and inspired me to be the first

person in my family to graduate high school and go to college.”

Rep. Virgil H. Goode (R-VA)

Ms. Odell Parcell and Ms. Dorothy Smith

Sontag Elementary School

Franklin County, VA

“She was especially kind to every student and helped us get

started in public education. Ms. Smith loved every student and was

an expert at the fundamentals of reading, writing, and


Congressman Goode attended a four-room framed school that housed

grades one through seven.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Dr. Irma Plaehn

The University of Northern Iowa

“Dr. Plaehn was a special teacher because she took such a personal

interest in the welfare of her students beyond the classroom.”

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ)

Mrs. Pare

Sunnyside High School

Tucson, AZ

“How can you pick one favorite teacher when there are so many

teachers who have had an impact on your life?”

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE)

Ms. Mildred Herrod

St. Bonaventure High School

Columbus, NE

“She inspired me, she challenged me, she communicated with me, and

she taught me. The essential ingredients for a memorable teacher.”

Rep. Ralph Hall (D-TX)

Ms. Willie D. Yarborough

“She was the first teacher who made me believe I could be a


Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL)

Mr. H.L. Douglas

Crooms Academy High School

Sanford, FL

“H.L. Douglas, a gentleman and a scholar. He coached basketball,

football, baseball, and taught chemistry. [He was a] no-nonsense

disciplinarian who exuded love.”

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT)

Ms. Eleanor Smith

Baldwin High School

Pittsburgh, PA

“She inspired me to go on to college at a time when the most that

could be expected of me was to continue to work at the trade that

I had learned. She told me that one day I would be a great poet.”

Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D-SD At Large)

Mr. John Westby

Groton High School

Groton, SD

“Mr. Westby had a profound impact on my high school years as he

cultivated my interest in government and politics. He was

diplomatic, yet firm in articulating his expectations of high performance, and this kind of steady encouragement taught me the

value of setting high standards for academics and for life in

general. He was particularly persistent and persuasive in

recruiting me to join the debate team. While I was originally

hesitant, he challenged me to join and I have never regretted it.”

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)

Ms. Lynette Flewelling

Saugerties High School

Saugerties, NY

“She introduced me to magnificent novels and fostered my love of


Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-NJ)

Mrs. Brown

Lewisburg Elementary School

Lewisburg, WV

Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA)

Mrs. Jefferson

Mr. Flanagan

William H. Ray Elementary School

Chicago, IL

“It is with great pleasure that I recognize two teachers who have had a great impact on my life.

Mrs. Jefferson and Mr. Flanagan demonstrated an outstanding ability to make me feel like more

than just a student in their classroom. They acknowledged my contributions outside the school

and valued me as a person. Both teachers were accessible to me as a middle school student,

encouraging students with their warm and engaging personalities. I will be forever grateful for

their support and the self-confidence they nurtured in me when I was a young boy. There is no

doubt that teachers are the heart of our schools and the individual interactions between a pupil

and their teacher is crucial to learning and shaping students’ lives. I want to thank all of our

teachers for the work they do and the dedication they have for our children.”

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA)

Mr. Wendall McCain

Ingraham High School

Seattle, WA

“Mr. McCain not only taught me the immortal precept: ‘Do like you

oughter, add the acid to the water;’ he also awakened in me the

recognition that chemistry is fundamental to our knowledge of the

environment. When I’m working to reduce the acidification of the oceans by cutting carbon-dioxide emissions, it is due in part to

the teachings of Wendall McCain.”

Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)

Mr. George Constanople

Mr. Brown

St. Albans Episcopal

Washington, D.C.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)

Mr. Cleo Jones

A.J. Moore High School

Waco, TX

“Mr. Jones challenged each and every one of his students to be the

best they could be and cared for them as if they were his own.”

Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD)

Ms. Donna (Cook) Gross

Vermillion High School

Vermillion, SD

“[She] inspired me to acquire an interest in literature and in

writing. She also pointed out that I could be both a football

player and a good student.”

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)

Reverend John Walker

“I will never forget the Reverend John Walker. He was the first

African-American teacher at our school, and he got us interested

in the growing civil rights movement and, frankly, taught us all a

lot about life.”

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA)

Mr. John Townsend

Clark Junior High School

Athens, GA

“Through Mr. Townsend, [I] learned that civics and politics was


Rep. Dale E. Kildee (D-MI) Sister Mary Hilory

St. Mary’s School

Flint, MI

“You taught me to question authority. Thank you.”

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL)

Mr. Robert Karp

Joseph Sears School

Kenilworth, IL

“Mr. Karp invented ‘Geography Baseball’ and turned it into a rite

of passage in our town. We memorized the locations of Georgia

(then in the Soviet Union), Goa (in India) and the Gobi desert (in

China). It sparked an interest to see each of these places and to

understand America’s role in the world. I have seen each one and

am now working to expand language and exchange opportunities for

all American students. Mr. Karp has passed away, but I carried his

legacy as a nursery school assistant, middle school teacher, and

now as a congressman.”

Rep. John R. “Randy” Kuhl, Jr. (R-NY)

Mr. Harold Block

Hammondsport Central School

Hammondsport, NY

“Coach Block was a motivator-he knew what motivated each

individual person and knew how to treat them based on what their

specific needs were. Coach Block inspired me not only to

participate in high school athletics but [also] to excel in

academics at the same time, allowing me to reach my full potential

in both areas. This is a critical message to all students today,

no matter where they are or want to be in life.”

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH)

St. John Cantinus

Cleveland, OH

He “liked them all!”

Rep. James R. Langevin (D-RI)

Mr. John Jackson

Bishop Hendricken High School Warwick, RI

“Mr. Jackson had a way of engaging his social studies class in

current events, one that inspired me to become more involved in

government and never stop looking for ways to make the world


Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA)

Mr. T.T. Kies

CAL Community High School

Latimer, IA

“Mr. Kies was an outstanding educator who was a friend and

counselor to everyone in the community. He taught mathematics in a

method that made it relevant to our everyday lives, allowing

students to easily grasp the real life need for studying the


Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)

Ms. Margaret Poole

Belltown School

Stamford, CT

“I had some great teachers, but I will give the prize to Margaret

Poole, my fourth and sixth grade teacher, a strong, optimistic

woman who taught me the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic

and also encouraged me to be a leader, in an elementary school

kind of way.”

Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo (R-NJ)

Father Murray

Georgetown Preparatory School

North Bethesda, MD

“Father Murray motivated the students.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)

Mr. John C. Attig

Gunn High School

Palo Alto, CA

“Your government class wasthe best—from kindergarten to 12th grade, my very favorite. You

are a talented teacher who made the class fun—and who would have thought then that what you

were teaching me would be put to its current use 40 years later! Thank you!”

Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL)

Ms. Evelyn Miller

Morris Kennedy Elementary School

Rockford, IL

“Evelyn Miller, my first grade teacher, changed my life: she

taught me to read, she was present when I announced my candidacy

for Congress, and she attended my victory party!”

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX)

Ms. Georgia Ogle

R.L. Turner High School

Carrollton, TX

“When I first ran for city council in Carrollton, she returned my

campaign brochure. It was corrected with a red pen for grammatical


Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)

Ms. Mildred Bates

Downers Grove North High School

Downers Grove, IL

Mr. Edward Maas

Downers Grove North High School

Downers Grove, IL

“Teachers in high school, both negative and positive, had the

greatest influence on me … [She] said I’d never graduate from

college. Mrs. Mildred Bates, while negative, made me believe in

myself. Mr. Edward Maas, another teacher, pushed me hard. Mr.

Maas challenged me to be better than I was. He believed in me.”

Rep. James P. McGovern (D-MA)

Ms. Donahue

Worcester Academy

Worcester, MA

“Regardless of a child’s achievement, [she] was accepting and


Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC)

Ms. Marion Thompson

Lumberton High School

Lumberton, NC

“Marion Thompson is a true professional whose love of teaching is

evident in the enthusiasm, eagerness, and effectiveness she

demonstrates with every class and each individual student. Both my

wife and I treasure the positive and powerful learning experience

we had under her tutelage. She could have been successful at any

number of professions, but Marion choose teaching and elevated it

to its highest level.”

Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL)

Dr. Sharon Wooten

Florida A&M University

Tallahassee, FL

“Dr. Sharon Wooten served as a college tutor and mentor and helped

me deal with my dyslexia. Without her guidance, understanding, and

patience, I would not have been able to graduate college on time.

She continues to be a strong voice for those with learning

disabilities, helping hundreds of other students deal with the

challenges they face in college.”

Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY)

Ms. Elizabeth Anderson

Julia Richmond High School

Manhattan, NY

“Ms. Anderson went above and beyond what was required of her as a

teacher and inspired young people like myself to live up to their

potential. Countless times, she showed how invested she was in our

achievement, like the time she rallied around me when I ran for

student leadership, it sparked my interest in public service.”

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Ms. Gail Harper

Union Hill High School

Union City, NJ

“She helped me overcome and master my fear of speaking in public,

which obviously changed my life.”

Rep. Michael H. Michaud (D-ME)

Mr. Andy Hopkins

Schenk High School

East Millinocket, ME

“Encouraged civic involvement, even if he was Republican!”

Rep. Dennis Moore (D-KS)

Ms. Doris Everest

Thomas Jefferson Elementary School

Wichita, KS

“Mrs. Everest had the perfect balance of kindness and

determination-challenging her students to be the absolute best

they could be and always supporting them when they needed extra


Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)

Mrs. McMahon

Glen Dale Elementary

Glen Dale, WV

“Thank you, Mrs. McMahon, my first grade teacher at Glen Dale Elementary in Glen Dale, WV.

She taught me to love school, to begin to learn how to read and to respect my teacher. She had a

warm heart and a firm hand that helped to lead me to a lifelong love of learning.”

Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS)

Ms. Mabel Pruter

Plainville Grade School

Plainville, KS

“Mrs. Pruter cared about each of her students, loved each one of

them, but had high expectations of all students. She made it clear

that I had the ability to do well if I applied myself and that it

was OK to be smart.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Ms. Hattie Buness

Evergreen Elementary School

Wrangell, AL

“Mrs. Buness opened the world for me when she taught me to read,

to explore, and to question.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

High School Band Teacher

“He taught us about the importance of working as a team,

practicing and working hard.”

Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC)

Ms. Gross

Noble Elementary School

Tiffin, Ohio

“My sixth grade teacher, Ms. Gross, at Noble Elementary School in Tiffin, Ohio had a

tremendous influence in shaping my life. She made me want to go to school and learn, taught

me to accept the talents she saw in me and to develop self-confidence. I was always determined

to strive to not let her down! I still think of her and thank her.”

Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ)

Sister Emila Joseph

St. John the Baptist

Patterson, NJ

Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ)

Mr. Henry Reyna

Miami High School

Miami, AZ

“Mr. Reyna was the only Mexican-American teacher at the high

school and [he] inspired me to overcome any barriers in order to

achieve my goals.”

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN)

Ms. Esther Fisher

St. Columba Catholic School

Columbus, IN

“She was my second grade and fifth grade teacher. She changed my

life because she believed in me.”

Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND)

Mr. Joseph Westby Valley City Senior High School

Valley City, ND

“Mr. Westby knew his chemistry and cared about his students. Long

before he devoted his career to advancing education through

leadership with the state’s education association, he devoted

himself to teaching science, including to challenging students

like myself. I’ve known Mr. Westby for 35 years, and after all

this time I know he still can teach me a thing or two and will the

next time we sit down to talk education policy.”

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)

Brother Amian Paul

LaSalle Academy

Providence, RI

“He had an intimidating manner. He shook me into realizing I had

academic potential. He did that literally by shaking me.”

Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH)

Ms. Grace Riffer

Beach City High School

Beach City, OH

“She is still alive, and [I] still correspond with her.”

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)

Mrs. Pickard

Searchlight Elementary School

Searchlight, NV

Ms. Marlon Walker

Mr. Mike O’Callaghan

Basic High School

Henderson, NV

“[Mrs. Pickard] taught me how to read and helped me develop a love

of learning. I read a lot to this day, and that’s partly because

of her. [Marlon Walker and Mike O’Callaghan] were both

disciplinarians and were both strong moral examples for their

students. They helped me develop my character and my conscience,

along with teaching me their subjects.”

Rep. Silvestre “Silver” Reyes (D-TX)

Mr. Ralph Chavez

Canutillo High School

Canutillo, TX

“He was a no-nonsense teacher and coach that insisted on hard work

and maximum effort in every endeavor. He really focused on each of

us, being a mentor, a teacher, a counselor, and a friend. He took

great pride in our accomplishments, especially because he worked

with very limited resources. I learned that life wasn’t always

fair, but that it was never an excuse to accept less than a

maximum effort. Like most teachers, I now realize, he often dug

into his own pocket to make sure we had what supplies we needed.”

Rep. Harold ‘Hal’ Rogers (R-KY)

Mr. Herbert Bell

Ramsey School

“Mr. Bell opened my eyes to a world much, much larger than the

small rural valley where I grew up.”

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)

Mrs. Sales

Principal Gooch

Euclid Avenue Elementary School

Los Angeles, CA

Sister Barbara Ann

Sister Frances de Chantel

Ramona Convent Secondary School

Alhambra, CA

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you. They say that behind

every successful person stands a great teacher. In my case, there

were four: Mrs. Sales and Principal Gooch at Euclid Avenue

Elementary School, and Sister Barbara Ann and Sister Frances de

Chantel at Ramona Convent Secondary School. These teachers played

an important role in building my confidence, my intellectual

curiosity and—in the case of Principal Gooch—my penmanship. As a

Member of Congress today, I consider myself very lucky to have the

opportunity to regularly visit our schools and get a window into

the wonderful work that you perform every day. Thank you for

opening your doors to me and demonstrating for me the critical role teachers play in shaping the future of our country. Again,

thank you for all that you do. Your contributions innumerable and

your legacy is stored in the hearts of America’s youth for the

rest of their lives.”

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)

Mr. Frank Douglas

Craig High School

Janesville, WI

“Frank Douglas… taught me more about the world in six months than

I had learned in 18 years.”

Rep. Timothy Ryan (D-OH)

Mr. John Gillen

John F. Kennedy High School

Warren, OH

“Mr. Gillen taught his students that each of us had the ability to

tap into untouched levels of human potential, and we had a

responsibility to our community and nation to stretch to those


Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ)

Mr. Ed Romanowski

Lackawanna Trail High School

Factoryville, PA

“He taught me many lessons about life, what it meant to work hard,

to be determined, to never give up, and to be successful. Together

with many of my friends and classmates, we gained much from his

professional efforts and friendship.”

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-CA)

Mrs. Barbara Abbott

Monte Vista High School

Danville, CA

“Mrs. Abbott was my Shakespeare teacher, and during the summer she

would take a group of us to the Shakespeare festival in Oregon

where we would camp out and watch a different play each day.

(Sometimes more than one each day!) She was a marvelous teacher,

with infectious enthusiasm, and showed us the beauty of the English language. I still remember her warm smile, her laugh, her

dedication to her students, and a passion for Shakespeare that she

passed on to her students-a passion I still share.”

Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA)

Calhoun School

New York, NY

“Thank you to my high school Current Events teacher at the Calhoun School in New York City,

New York.”

Rep. José E. Serrano (D-NY)

Ms. Selma Altsman-Binder

Grace Dodge Career and Technical High School

The Bronx, NY

“This teacher brought me out of my shell and demanded the best of

me in a loving, supportive way.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

Mr. Benjamin W. Dickey

Wilcox County High School

Camden, AL

Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)

Mr. Joe Spurgeon

Collinsville High School

Collinsville, IL

“Mr. Spurgeon strove for excellence in the classroom, gym, and the

athletic field as a coach; he was unrelenting in the pursuit of

excellence. Those who were fortunate to have him learned teamwork,

self-sacrifice, and a strong work ethic.”

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID)

Mr. Dwight Baker

Blackfoot High School

Blackfoot, ID

“Mr. Baker made a difficult subject interesting and easy to grasp.

Throughout college and dental school, I often reflected on the

lessons he taught me.”

Albio Sires (D-NJ) Mr. Charlie Swensen

Memorial High School

West New York, NJ

“As a child born in Cuba for whom English was a second language, Mr. Swensen not only taught

me English, he helped me assimilate to U.S. culture. Today, as a Member of Congress, I still

think of Mr. Swensen when I make a speech or write a letter or article. I was fortunate to spend

a lot of time with Mr. Swensen because he also coached my basketball team. He is a great

teacher and coach, and he is a great man. He has truly made a lasting impact on my life, and I

will be forever grateful to him.”

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA)

Mr. Sterling Smith

Chinook Middle School and Tyee High School

SeaTac, WA

“He showed a passion for learning and the English language that

was truly inspiring for all those of us lucky enough to have him

for a teacher.”

Rep. John Tanner (D-TN)

Coach Guy Edward Phipps

Union City High School

Union City, TN

“A talented educator, coach, and, later, principal, Coach Phipps

was known among his colleagues and students for choosing one

special student each week to befriend.”

Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE)

Mr. Steve Sergeant

Northwest High School

Omaha, NE

Sen. John Thune (R-SD)

Ms. Margie Peters

Jones County High School

Murdo, SD

“She demanded excellence and helped [me] improve [my] writing

skills. She was tough, but fair, and cared deeply about making her

students better.”

Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) Mr. Jim Prosser

Vermillion High School

Vermillion, SD

“My first quarter in geometry, I had a near failing grade. By the

last quarter (sophomore year) I had an ‘A’ because Mr. Prosser

took the time to explain geometry to a thick headed farm boy. He

taught me for two more years, and in my senior year I was a

regional winner in a national math contest. Not bad for a kid who

nearly flunked out of sophomore geometry.”

Rep. John F. Tierney (D-MA)

Ms. Ann DiCarlo

Pickering School

Salem, MA

“She set demanding goals and insisted on discipline while managing

to exhibit respect and concern for her students at the same time,

and her ability to motivate and to encourage students to excel

without exposing them to peer pressure as ‘teacher’s pet’ were

skills she exercised deftly, especially when she taught me how to

embrace the role of public speaker.”

Rep. Tim Holden (D-PA)

Mr. Rick Tomko

St. Clair High School

St. Clair, PA

“Rick Tomko has an amazing grasp of history. His great story

telling ability made learning fun and maintained students’

interest on issues of politics and democracy.

Rep. Edolphus “Ed” Towns (D-NY)

Ms. McNeil

Westside Elementary School

Chadborn, NC

“Ms. McNeil had a natural way of explaining complicated subject


Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)

Mr. Mike Denekas

St. Joseph Public School Michigan

“Mr. Denekas truly made government come alive. When I became a

member of Congress, much later on, I was able to speak to his

class until he retired.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)

Ms. Fran Botton

Magnolia Open School

Long Beach, NY

“I knew she cared about me, wanted me to succeed, pushed me to

work hard and do my best, and accepted nothing less than what she

knew was possible from her students. When we finished fifth grade

and faced the inevitable sadness about leaving a favorite teacher,

she announced she was moving up with us to sixth grade and keeping

us all together. The two years of continuity helped prepare me for

success in secondary school and gave me the emotional support that

every child needs as they move into their teen years.”

Rep. Anthony D. Weiner (D-NY)

Miss Noonan

P.S. 39

Brooklyn, NY

“In addition to teaching the basics of reading and writing, Miss

Noonan taught the whole class to celebrate and respect the

diversity of our Brooklyn neighborhood.”

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)

Miss Sondergaard

Alexander Hamilton Junior High School

Seattle, WA

“Miss Sondergaard was my P.E. teacher who selected me, when I was

in the ninth grade, to be the leader of the Girls Afterschool P.E.

program. She was one of the first adults in my youth to

acknowledge my leadership capabilities.”

Rep. Don Young (R-AK At Large)

Mrs. McCall

Salem, CA

“She flunked me—and rightly so!”

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