Chamber expresses appreciation for educators with new event


By Tony Kukulich

The first day of school for teachers and school staff is just around the corner, and the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce is marking the return by hosting an Educator Appreciation Night.

Planned for August 9 at Tabby Place in downtown Beaufort from 3:30 to 6 p.m., the event is open and free to anyone with a valid identification badge from an area school. The event is not open to the general public.

This is the first year that the chamber has put on an event specifically for educators, explained Ian Plant, president/CEO of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. He hopes the event will help school staff feel connected to the community and understand the appreciation that local business owners have for those in education.

“The idea was born out of a realization in the business community of just how critical teachers are, not only to our future workforce, but to everybody working today,” Plant said. “During those months when schools were closed, (we saw) the enormous challenge and responsibility that teachers have to prepare young people. I think we all saw it first hand. If it wasn’t top of mind for you before the COVID-19 pandemic, it certainly is now.”

Those who attend can expect to be greeted with food and drinks. Beyond that, approximately 50 companies will be represented offering discounts, giveaways or coupons to help teachers keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets.

“The majority of the business partners in this event are also giving away in-demand school supplies from a list provided to us by the school district of things teachers often have to dip into their own pockets to procure for their classrooms, or have to ask for donations from parents. We’re trying to set up as many educators as we can with as many of those extra supplies and materials to help take a burden off them. Our chief goal is to make sure they understand just how important we know their work is in our community.”

Sponsors for the event come from a broad range of businesses who provide goods and services in the community including JE Dunn Construction, Coastal Community Foundation and Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

“We are extremely thankful for the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce as a valued community partner,” said Frank Rodriguez, superintendent of the Beaufort County School District. “We greatly appreciate their recognition and celebration of our educators who are preparing for a successful 2022-2023 school year.”

The chamber hopes this will become an annual event. That will be determined by the responses received from both educators and sponsors, though Plant noted that sponsor reaction has been enthusiastic during the planning for the night.

“Our hope is that we contribute to all of those school year kick-off opportunities – be a little bit of a pep rally to help show community-wide support for the important work they do as they start the new school year,” Plant said.

For more information on the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce, visit www.beaufortchamber.org, or call 843-525-8525.

Tony Kukulich is a recent transplant to the Lowcountry. A native of Wilmington, Del., he comes to The Island News from the San Francisco Bay Area where he spent seven years as a reporter and photographer for several publications. He can be reached at tony.theislandnews@gmail.com.

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