Three students -- one each in elementary, middle and high school categories -- and their honored teachers have been named winners in the Delaware Department of Education's Teacher Appreciation Contest as the state celebrates National Teacher Appreciation Week this week.
"In each of the hundreds of entries, students wrote about educators who have supported and encouraged them in and out of the classroom," Secretary of Education Dr. Lillian M. Lowery said.
"They wrote about creative lessons that captivated their attention, explaining complex concepts in a way that the students could grasp. They also shared stories of teachers whose classroom management stopped bullying and encouraged team-building,” Lowery said. “And they wrote about teachers who came in early or stayed after school to mentor them.
“Often educators’ hard work and extra hours goes unheralded by adults, but for the students in their classrooms, it doesn’t go unnoticed,” Lowery said. “These students explained best just how special and extraordinary Delaware’s teachers are.”
Lowery will visit each winner’s classroom to deliver a $50 gift card to each student writer along with $100 for each honored teacher.
The winners are:
- Fourth-grader Morgan Bomhardt and classroom teacher, Mary Kreger, at Lord Baltimore Elementary in the Indian River School District.
Kreger “makes learning fun,” Morgan wrote in her essay. “We do a whole bunch of activities. One activity we do is our book reports, which most people would say are boring, but she makes the projects fun for us. We recently did the ‘living history museum,’ where we dress up as the famous people that we researched.”
Lord Baltimore Principal Janet Hickman said Kreger “is as high strung as the most hyper student you will find in a classroom. She pushes them to their limits in the most fun way … they often don’t realize how [much they are learning].”
- Fifth-grader Tiffany Ince and her classroom teacher, John Arent, at Pleasantville Elementary in the Colonial School District.
"A few years past I was failing math, but with Mr. Arent’s help, I understand fractions and decimals very clearly,” Tiffany said. “I also think Mr. Arent deserves to be noticed because he always encourages us to give 100%. Mr. Arent runs a lot of marathons and when he is tired and wants to give up he doesn’t and gives 100% and he uses that as an example.”
Pleasantville Principal Jennifer Alexander said Arent goes “above and beyond each day to support not only the children in his classroom but to also assist other teachers and students within the school building.
“John does what it takes to ensure students learn. He differentiates his instruction, encourages critical thinking skills and strives to make real-world connections for his students. John is simply the best!” she said.
- Eleventh-grader Nathan Buethe and Michael Scarborough, history teacher at Delaware Military Academy charter school.
Buethe wrote about how Scarborough runs his classroom similar to that of a college course and always looks for ways to improve his teaching style, asking for student input to help him. He also makes learning a lot of fun, Buethe said.
“He incorporates his humor into his lessons every day. For example, when demonstrating the new type of photography used during the Civil War that emphasized dramatic situations, he sprawled out onto the ground, acting as if he was shot then proceeded to display the placement of the soldier’s bodies in dramatic poses on the battlefield to help sell the papers,” he said.
DMA Commandant Robert Chester said Scarborough brings lessons alive: “Delivering history with a large dose of fact, sprinkled with humor, often wrapped in historical attire. A great recipe for student success. This is what Mr. Scarborough does.”
The full winning essays as well as the other entries, categorized by school, are posted online. Like the children, Lowery and the Delaware Department of Education say "thank you" to these dedicated professionals for all they do every day
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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