|Randy Jensen, Jessica Jenkins, Kathryn Lemon, Lori Labrum, Rep. Jim Matheson at the Crystal Apple Awards.|
The first annual Crystal Apple Award Ceremony was held at the Jennifer Leavitt student center on May 15. The event was sponsored by Emery Telcom to honor area teachers for their hard work and dedication.
Larry Salazar from Emery Telcom was the host for the evening. He said everyone has been influenced by a teacher at some point in their lives. "We are who we are because of the fine example they have set. Salazar said Emery Telcom has been a strong supporter of education in the Emery and Carbon County area through grants and scholarships.
Rep. Jim Matheson was a guest speaker at the program. He recognized Emery Telcom for their extra effort and willingness to be active in the community and to help with education.
Matheson said everyone has a story of a teacher and he remembers Shauna Wild, who taught the sixth grade and helped to direct him in a positive way. He did not appreciate that as a 12-year-old, but he does now. He also appreciates an 11th grade English teacher who took an interest in him as she did with all of her students and taught him to write.
"The best investment we can make is in educating our kids," said Matheson. The intent of the No Child Left Behind federal education reform bill was good. The way it has been applied has caused problems. Teachers in rural areas often teach more than one subject. Matheson thinks they should loosen the requirements for how we define a qualified teacher. He said the local school districts, not the federal government should set the rules. Matheson said that wonderful teachers deserve to be honored and hopes they continue to be quality teachers for years to come.
The Green River High choir performed the song, "You Raised Me Up," under the direction of Jessica Jenkins.
Guest Speaker Kathy Petersen, currently principal at Santa Clara Elementary, and former Ferron Elementary principal spoke of the challenges of rural educators. Petersen told the story of two kindergarten boys in her school. She sat down by them and one of the boys whispered, "What's she doing in here?" and the other boy replied, "She's the principal." The other boy said, "She can't be the "prince able," she must be the "princess able."
"With the title of "princess able" I somehow feel qualified to speak to you tonight. No task comes without challenges, but the rewards for being an educator are many. Some challenges facing rural educators include: large class size, limited materials, outdated technology, low pay, geographic isolation, no local colleges for educators and students, limited professional development, long distance travel to competitions and activities."
Peteresen said it is a disadvantage to travel six hours to a competition and also a disadvantage to operate without needed supplies. She mentioned in an urban setting if you want to have Muffins with Mom at school you order the muffins from a local bakery, in a rural setting if you want to have Muffins with Mom at school, you stay up all night baking muffins. Rural educators perform many tasks and rural educators overcome many challenges. Rural students score above the state average on tests and go on to colleges and universities.
Petersen stressed the fact that there are solutions for rural educators including support and partnerships with families, teachers and businesses. Petersen read excerpts from the book, "All the Places to Love," by Patricia MacLachlan. She described rural communities as places with traditions and the can do attitude. Places where people help each other and care about each other. Petersen told of a fund raiser held at Ferron Elementary where everyone donated a penny for each page they read to raise money for new library books.
One boy wrote a story about his school and said, "I like my community, because every boy's mom is everyone's mom." People who live in rural communities, pitch in to help out. Petersen spoke of the times her family helped with installing playground equipment and how all the small businesses in the community helped to contribute to the school. "Working together many goals can be met," said Petersen.
The nominees were introduced with a short excerpt from their nomination papers. Randy Jensen from the Emery Telcom board introduced the nominees.
|Kathy Petersen, former Ferron Elementary principal speaks at the award ceremony.|
Diane Carter, Emery High School, mythology, English, history, "She never cared who you were, or where you came from, she was always willing to work to help students."
Jessica Jenkins, Green River High, drama, art and music, "She has a gift to recognize and use the talents of her students, she makes everyone feel appreciated."
Julia Vincent, Creekview Elementary, special education, "She works extra hours and teaches to the abilities of her students."
Jody Carter, Book Cliff Elementary, sixth grade, "She shows her students that through education, you can be anything you want to be. Aspire to be the best person you can be."
Lori Labrum, Cottonwood Elementary, third grade, "She plans lessons that fit each child's abilities."
Maurine Tanner, Sally Mauro Elementary, kindergarten, "She never gives up on students and works hard to see them succeed."
Katheryn Lemon, East Carbon High School, English, drama and AP classes, "She does not give up and she works hard beside her students to see that they are successful."
Madelei Thompson, Ferron Elementary, fourth grade, "She helps students feel their potential and allows students to teach their understanding in a variety of situations."
Jeral Lofley, Cleveland Elementary, first grade "He encourages students to excel in academics and as individuals."
The winners were announced with another excerpt from their nomination papers. The Carbon County winner was announced first, "She is gentle, kind and sensitive to personal needs, she always goes beyond the call of duty, Kathryn Lemon.
The Emery County winner was announced, "She is creative, committed and civic minded. She inspires others and always teaches with love and kindness, Lori Labrum.
The overall winner from both counties and Southeastern Utah Teacher of the Year, who will be nominated for other teaching honors was Jessica Jenkins. "She is admired and respected, she has many talents. She is dedicated and teaches with gentleness. She makes the world a better place. She is a gift to us all."
Salazar said he hoped these awards would help raise public awareness for the important role educators play in all of our lives.
Winners received a crystal apple award and a cash prize to be used in their classrooms.