Jay Jackman

Why We Should Support the NAAE Agricultural Educator Relief Fund -- Tara Berescik, New York

Blog Post created by Jay Jackman on Oct 14, 2016

On the wall of my childhood bedroom was a picture in a simple wooden frame. Inside the mat, written in script, was the statement, “No matter how great your words may be, you will be judged by your actions and deeds.” As the daughter of an English teacher, a newspaper reporter, and a book editor, I always found it strange that this picture would hang between my bedroom windows. It stood as a reminder to me that I needed to be good, do good, and help others … because no matter how well I could talk my way out of something or write an apology for something I had done, the actions always spoke louder than the words I spoke or wrote.


Twenty years (or so) later, as I sit at my desk in my own classroom, I see the Teachers Creed that my students gave me when I first started to teach. The very first bullet on the poster hanging above my desk states, “As a teacher…if you can’t walk-the-walk, we won’t listen when you talk-the-talk.” These words, so similar in meaning to the ones that were displayed in my childhood bedroom, remind me of the importance of deeds and not just words.


As a two term president of the New York Association of Agricultural Educators (NYAAE) and the past finance committee chair for the NAAE, I feel that I need to both talk-the-talk and walk-the-walk for the NAAE Agricultural Educator Relief Fundhttp://www.naae.org/resources/index.cfm#relief. I have had the privileged to be a part of this program since its inception and I have seen first-hand how teachers in our profession benefit from it. As the NYAAE president, I sent three requests for funding to support teachers in my state. One instance came from illness and loss of income from a spouse. The second was for a teacher who delivered a baby nearly four months pre-mature and needed to travel to and from the hospital daily. The last went to a teacher friend who lost everything she owned in a fire.



Imagine you are in the middle of teaching your morning class and you get a call that your home is ablaze. Everything you own, that you have collected, that you cherish including your pets – lost. As the NYAAE president, getting a phone call to let me know this had happened was devastating. Hearing that the only thing left was what had been carelessly thrown into the drier earlier that morning – a towel, some underwear and socks – made me ache. While it did not seem like much to fill out the request for the relief fund and write some letters to gather support, it was what I could do. It helped this fellow teacher when she had lost everything … when she was at her lowest … when she needed it the most.


The purpose of this fund is to help those with the most need – but it cannot continue without of the support of other members. NAAE is seeking support for the fund through our state associations and from individual members.


“No matter how great your words may be, you will be judged by your actions and deeds.” Today I choose to walk-the-walk. As a current member of the NAAE finance committee and as a former state association president who requested money to help someone else, I am asking that you choose to make a contribution to the NAAE Agricultural Educator Relief Fund, just as I did. This tax-deductible donation can be made by credit card by calling the NAAE office at (800) 509-0204 or by sending a check made payable to NAAE with “Ag Ed Relief Fund” in the memo line. Please mail check directly to NAAE, 300 Garrigus Building, Lexington, KY 40546-0215. You may also choose to contact your state agricultural education association and make donations in that way.


Thank you and please consider supporting because you never know if you will need relief in the future.


Tara Berescik

Agricultural Education Teacher

Tri-Valley Central School

34 Moore Hill Road

Grahamsville, NY  12740

(845) 985-2296, ext 5503