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I’ve always loved Thanksgiving for its focus on the positive, on being thankful.

Those of us at the County Education Office are truly grateful for the trust placed in us and the honor we feel in supporting youth and educators countywide.

We are grateful for educators and those who work every day to make schools inclusive and ready for learning — teachers, administrators, support staff and specialists of all disciplines.

We are also particularly thankful for parent volunteers, for our first responders, members of the business and non-profit community, neighbors, grandparents and relatives who help take care of our children. Your support means the world. We feel this gratitude every day and are thankful for a time of year that gives us the chance to say so publicly.

But what about the people we serve? The students, teachers and administrators? We asked individuals from schools to express their thanks and share what’s on their mind.

From a sampling of students:

I am thankful for having a safe school to get my education from and having great teachers. — Kiele, Santa Ynez Valley Union High School.

I'm thankful for my family and how much they have done for me because they work so hard to put food on the table every day. — Christian, Kermit McKenzie Intermediate School.

I am most thankful for the opportunity to be able to live my life, come to school without fear of rejection, and enjoy my time in the basketball practices after school. — Manuel, Cuyama High School.

I am thankful my mom got here in the United States of America. I'm also thankful for my house for giving me shelter, so I don't have to live outside. — Henry, Mary Buren Elementary.

From teachers:

I’m thankful for having a job I truly love. Our school is filled with compassionate and understanding educators, whom I am so lucky to call my colleagues. I am beyond grateful for my students; they inspire me. — Stephanie Gogonis, Santa Ynez Valley Union High School.

Having my family around for Thanksgiving and through the holiday season is a blessing. — Vidal Aguilera, Cuyama Valley High School.

What I’m most thankful for is both my family and friends who help keep me grounded and provide me the perspective I need in order to strive forward in life. — Robin Ilac, Guadalupe Union School District.

From a sampling of superintendents:

I am grateful for all the hard-working people who make it their life’s work to ensure that each and every one of our students has a bright future. — Dr. Emilio Handall, Guadalupe Union School District.

The Cory family is thankful for blessings of faith: In a year of sickness, healing; in a year of struggle, perseverance; in a year of sadness, joy; in a year of frustration, peace; in a year of need, generosity; in a year of isolation, friendship; in a year of doubt, assurance. — Scott Cory, Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District.

I am thankful for the opportunity to be living and working in the heart of such an amazing community. Our community is full of homegrown and legacy families who understand that success comes as no accident, and that perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all love of what you are doing or learning to do is key. Being a part of the Cuyama Valley has been very gratifying, and I am thankful for being warmly welcomed to the area and the opportunity to work with such amazing young minds — Dr. Stephen Bluestein, Cuyama Valley Joint Unified School District.

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Dr. Susan Salcido is Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools.

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