To the editor:

In a recent article written on Oct. 22 introducing the candidates running for Salem School Committee, some candidates were labelled with the bullet point “Family: None.” This bothered me as it was used to describe my aunt and candidate, Kristine Wilson. Despite this being a common describer used to inform the reader that said person does not have a spouse or children, there are 25 people who would strongly disagree with that statement: Her siblings and their spouses Suzanne, Rick, Carol, Skip, Robyn, Richie, Ricky, Kathy, Bob, nieces and nephews Alison, Mark, Nicholas, Lindsay, Rachel, Matt, Ben, Whitney, William, Jack, great nieces and nephews Henry, Angus, John, Meredith, Helen, and devoted friend Betty. For us, the definition of family cannot simply be summed up as none or listing a spouse and children. Perhaps our vision of family is one of modern thinking, encompassing not only ancestral relations but also friends who have shown us loyalty and love.

As an educator, family continues to expand and include the school community. Countless hours are spent with staff and faculty, bound by a common interest: educating children. Colleagues become confidants, a support system, and people who challenge you to want to be a better educator. The students become the main focus and an additional familial extension; their well-being and success becoming one of the reasons you wake up in the morning, a similar sentiment shared by a parent.

One could argue that by basic definition, the bullet point in Oct. 22’s article is correct. However, in my opinion Kristine’s family extends beyond none and even beyond 25; after 37 years as an educator, it includes hundreds of friends, colleagues, and students.

Rachel Barstow

South Hamilton

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