Each comment on this blog post counts as a “vote” towards the specified entry. The top 5 entries will be reviewed by an independent panel after August 22, 2014. A winner will be chosen and announced by Tuesday, August 26.
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Submission #1 Mr. Percak
Submission #2 Mrs. Buckley
Submission #1 Mr. Percak:
I am nominating Waterloo High School teacher Jerry Percak for the Refuse to be Ordinary contest for classroom supplies.
Mr. Percak demonstrates his exemplary subject matter skill coupled with an extraordinary ability to reach teenagers on a daily basis with his work in our small high school. Mr. Percak knows that reaching students so they are driven to learn takes more than the few minutes they have together in class, and he makes it his business to assess their interests and get to know our young adults as individuals.
Even after early mornings turn into evenings, this dedicated teacher takes time to attend athletic and co-curricular events to make sure students – and parents – know who he is and just how invested he is in each student’s academic success. His own passion for his subject ignites interest in students. I can say my family has benefited from having Mr. Percak as part of our school family and we are hopeful he will remain in our local school for our other sons to learn from him, as well. It was a pleasure to see him in a place of honor this spring during the graduation ceremony, standing out in a fedora and shaking the hand of each and every one of our graduating students.
He is also an excellent example of a teacher-leader, not afraid to speak up in the best interest of our children and the profession of teaching.
Mr. Percak refuses to be ordinary. Please help him continue to help his students by awarding him a Refuse to be Ordinary Award for classroom supplies.
Submission #2 Mrs. Buckley:
It is not a new or novel idea to say that teachers are a special breed. The ideal teacher is possessed of unflagging patience, boundless compassion, and a willingness to invest considerable time and energy in their pupils, often without even knowing it. Ann Buckley has these wonderful qualities and more. She is the kind of teacher that every student needs, and moreover the sort of role model that we all seek. She is bright, compassionate and has a calming demeanor that sets the mind at ease while keeping it open and engaged.
Ann has been a teacher with the Madison School District for 14 years. For the past four years, she has been working with special education students at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, where she teaches social and organizational skills to her students, as well as math interventions. Yet she credits her students with teaching her as often as she teaches them. In fact, she considers the most fulfilling part of her job the times where she can learn things from her students, or look on with satisfaction when they teach each other what they have learned. She plans her lessons to provide the best possible environment to ensure the success of her students, and through her kind, patient method, provides her students with the gifts they need to forge ahead in their studies.
But the most valuable gift she gives her students is self-esteem. Through her enthusiasm and gentle encouragement, she teaches her students how to speak up for themselves and make their own decisions about their lives. She assists in enhancing their listening and problem solving skills. She lends support while helping them to find others who will support them in their journey, and how to reach out to others for help and friendship. She provides them with the skills they need to connect socially with their peers in such a way that are accepted and successful, and their disabilities become invisible.
Ann encourages, motivates, and inspires her students to pursue success through their education while instilling in them the confidence and self-determination they needed to keep moving forward and reaching for new goals and it is my honor to name Ann an extraordinary teacher.