Famous faces

24th November 2000 at 00:00
THE baggy cord jacket and elbow patches may have been mothballed with Mr Chips, but how many teachers' wardrobes include swimsuit, stiletto heels and glittery tiara?

Angela Perez Baraquio's does. She's a Honolulu PE teacher who has just been crowned Miss USA. Her colleagues, pupils and their parents think this is great, and her job is being kept open. What's more, she wants to return to education and become an administrator - an advance on the usual fluffy beauty-queen ambition of working with children and animals.

Meanwhile, in Canada, Wendy Arsenault has been fired after 14 yers as a dinner lady. Her crime? Reminding pupils and staff alike to say "please" and "thank you" as she ladled lunch onto their plates. Apparently, this is "insubordination" - but, interestingly, the pupils want her back.

In an age where people crave celebrity, having a teacher crowned beauty queen sends a clear, positive message. But when did good manners and respect stop being desirable? Education is the transmission of culture and values from one generation to the next. Let's cheer on beauty queen and dinner lady alike - and encourage yet more diversity in our schools.


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