It is the self imposed duty of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce to welcome new teachers into the community at the end of each summer with a meet and greet luncheon. They do so with the partnership of the Duneland School Corporation, and the support of individual chamber members keen on sponsoring the future of their business and their towns.
“We welcomed 45 new faces today,” said David Pruis, the Superintendent of Schools. “We greatly appreciate the support of the Duneland Chamber.”
The Chamber hosted their 13th annual luncheon on August 11th, 2016. Monte Moffett, the Assistant Superintendent for Operations and Human Relations at the Duneland School Corporation, once had plans for a teacher’s orientation day. So when the chamber approached him asking what they could do to help the school system, the luncheon is what he asked for. Sponsorship for the first New Teacher’s Luncheon started a tradition that both organizations hold to this day.
“We wanted to give them a view of the support they have,” Moffett said. “That makes a big difference, it really does.”
Chris Bell, a soon-to-be fourth grade teacher at Bailey Elementary School, was still new to the country and grateful to be introduced to Chesterton. The luncheon was one stop on a region-wide tour of the school system, and touched on the history of the area as well. Bell also appreciated that it was the business community that welcomed he and his peers into the fold.
“Something that has been lacking,” Bell said, “In classes that I’ve taught in is a knowledge of economics. I think getting the Chamber of Commerce involved will give [the teachers] and students a better concept of it, and how money works.”
Kristina Borgetti, the Office Coordinator for the Chamber, said, “We work hand-in-hand with the education system. We feel it’s important to welcome the new teachers, to let them know that there are people, and businesses, that really are here to help.”
Each teacher’s lunch was sponsored by a member of the Chamber of Commerce, a personal touch that allowed the two an opportunity to network.
“It seems natural,” said Krissy Roberts, the Fitness Supervisor for Franciscan Omni Health and Fitness. “We always like to give back, and do things for the community. Having this luncheon, welcoming the teachers, is helpful. It’s just natural.”
Other sponsors included the Dunes Learning Center, Jacob’s Ladder Pediatric Rehab Center, Symphony of Chesterton, and McColly Real Estate.
“We are the conduit of the community,” said Maura Durham, the Chamber’s President. “We have the opportunity to introduce new teachers, and new residents, to our business owners. For a healthy community we all need to work locally together. The more we can lean on each other for the things we need, the stronger we are.”