‘Teacher of the Year’ is recognized at BJHS
Donna Pratt, a language arts teacher at Baldwin Junior High School, is putting on a happy face but not because summer break is here. Pratt was named Teacher of the Year by the associates from the SAM'S Club in Lenexa in appreciation for excellence in education.
Pratt's "happy face" is a special rendition of the familiar red SAM'S Club vest which was presented to her last week by Randy Schenewerk, supervisor of membership/marketing at the Lenexa SAM'S along with a $500 education grant for Baldwin Junior High. Assisting with the presentation was Kalli Keen, an 8th grade student at the school.
The award was a surprise to Pratt and made for a great day.
"I truly felt like queen for the day," said Pratt. "I don't think there is any greater honor that I can receive, because teaching is my avocation, as well as my vocation.
"I enjoy teaching and for the students to do this for me is an honor," she said. "The students were as thrilled as I was and that made it the most special professional moment of my life."
Pratt has taught at BJHS for nine years as a language arts teacher and for 12 years in the Baldwin school district. The $500 grant is earmarked for the school to buy books with.
Pratt was one of 3,000 teachers from around the country who received the award. In 2000, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. contributed more than $1.5 million in grants for schools and school districts nationwide.
"Teacher's have one of the most challenging and critical jobs in our country," said Lee Scott, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. "The Teacher of the Year program is our associates' way of letting teachers know how much we appreciate their contributions to the education of our youth, which in turn contribute to the vitality of our communities."
The Teacher of the Year program honors teachers in the communities in which they serve who distinguish themselves as mentors, motivators and innovators in education. Since the program began in 1996, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has saluted more than 10,700 Teachers of the Year, contributing $5.1 million in education grants to local schools.
The criteria used to determine award winners impressed Pratt, too.
"I was really very taken by the criteria referenced in regard to the award," said Pratt. "It shows how much students care for their teachers and education. It was more than superficial."