So often the news media highlights the worst aspects of society. Crime, violence, racial animosity, etc., are just a variety of news topics bombarding people every day. It can get depressing.
That’s why sometimes a wonderful story about the passing of a beloved kindergarten teacher is such a pleasant reminder about the genuinely good people in society.
Credit 14-year veteran Kansas City Star reporter Dawn Bormann and the editors at the McClatchy-owned newspaper for highlighting kindergarten teacher Debbie Graff Utterback on the front page, highlighting how she touched the lives of so many young children for 24 years at Highland Elementary in the Shawnee Mission School District. She died at age 58 one week shy of her 59th Birthday.
Credit also should go to area cities that also helped honor her.
“The cities of Fairway, Mission and Prairie Village declared Thursday “Mrs. Utterback Day” in acknowledgement of her public service teaching generations of northeast Johnson County youngsters,” wrote Bormann. “Mission and Fairway ordered their flags to half-staff.”
Bormann noted that Fairway Mayor Jerry Wiley issued a proclamation recognizing Utterback.
“Whereas she taught hundreds with love and kindness the most important lessons they will ever learn in life: Share. Play fair. Don’t hit. Put things back. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry. Wash your hands. Take a nap. Watch out for traffic. Hold hands and stick together.”
Bormann has covered a variety of beats at the Star, including police, education, local government, Fort Leavenworth and more. She now covers education in Kansas
“It was especially satisfying to write about a lovely woman like Debbie Graff Utterback,” Bormann told Bottom Line Communications.
“Isn’t it nice to know that kindergarten teachers can still hug their students?”
Credit also to KSHB’s Jonathan Goede, who also did a wonderful tribute on Mrs. Utterback (below).