Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Honoring Teachers with the Annual Pocatello North Stake Teacher Recognition #SOL16

The invitation.
This past Thursday evening, I and twenty other teachers in Pocatello, were honored by the Pocatello North Stake. Graduating seniors who attend one of the Wards served by the North Stake selected us for recognition.

As a non-Mormon, the first time a student selected me for this honor, I accepted the invitation with a little trepidation. I didn't know what to expect. But having been chosen touched me deeply, so my husband and I attended the ceremony.

That was five years ago.

No two students may choose the same teacher. That way many teachers receive recognition. Usually, most of the teachers are my colleagues at Highland H. S., but this year a kindergarten teacher, a couple of elementary teachers, and several middle school teachers joined us. Additionally, my English department colleagues Stephanie Plato, Kyle Jenks, and Gino Mariano (also our football coach) received recognition, too.

The students, parents, siblings, and church leaders work tirelessly planning, organizing, and serving teachers on this special evening. From the invitation to the photography, to the dinner, to the service where each student speaks about their teacher, each moment is orchestrated with care and love. As Kyle said the next day: "Dinner was like being on a cruise."

Makenna Watt selected me as her teacher to honor. My husband and I spent the evening with Makenna and her mom Kim. We were joined at dinner by my student James Mullen, his parents, and my colleague Stephanie, whom James chose to honor.
With Kim, Makenna's mom.
Makenna shared stories about texting me in the wee hours when she took Communication 1101, as well as an anecdote about help I gave her with an essay for Kyle's English 1110 Introduction to Literature. I also taught Makenna in ninth grade speech.
Makenna and my plaque.
I was the last teacher honored, and after Makenna spoke and gave me my plaque, the Stake President David Penrod presented me with a lovely flower arrangement for having been chosen all five years of the program.
My flowers and husband Ken.
They even asked me to give a speech! I'll not replicate all my comments, but will share a quote I heard long ago and that I've tried to remember over the years: "We make a living out of what we get. We make a life out of what we give."

The lady most responsible for the teacher recognition is an amazing woman. Anne Cameron has traveled a long journey with me over the years. She lived two houses down the street from me for several years and still lives in my neighborhood. I've taught some of her children, too. She devotes numerous hours to the program and is a constant each year. She has listened to my stories about teaching and shared some tales out of school, too. Coming from a family of educators--her father was a superintendent--Anne knows education. She exemplifies a life of service, and I owe her multiple debts of gratitude.
With Anne Cameron, the lady who keeps the Teacher Recognition going.
Thank you, Pocatello North Stake. Your gracious giving to me and my colleagues brings meaning to our professional lives.

Thank you, for sharing this special slice of my teaching life with me. If you are a teacher, my wish is for you to feel as valued and honored as I do through the Pocatello North Stake Teacher Recognition.
It's Tuesday, which means Slice of Life Story Challenge.
Thank you, Staci and the team at TWT blog.