Over $6,000 has been awarded to 12 teachers throughout the Cache County School District in the form of $500 Hats Off Awards. Principals, students and parents nominated teachers throughout the district to receive these awards that recognize teachers who go above and beyond in the classroom. The awards were made possible by donations from local businesses and facilitated by the Cache Education Foundation. Joan Mahoney, a member of the foundation’s executive committee, has helped deliver these awards for about a dozen years.
“It’s nice having the kids there to be a part of seeing their teacher win,” says Mahoney, “have the sponsors so invested in the award and to be there to present. It’s a pretty cool experience.”
Each award was hand delivered to each teacher and awarded in front of the school at an assembly. Reviewing the applications for the teachers that are nominated each year, Mahoney continues, can be an overwhelming experience.
“It’s encouraging reading what parents have to say, in particular. You can feel their excitement and their passion for the teacher. They feel very strongly about what the teacher has done for their child, to help them to grow. It’s a pretty amazing experience.”
Ted Erekson, president of the foundation’s board of directors, says it was easy for him to get involved with this project many years ago because of the positive influence teachers had on him.
“We have incredible teachers in the Cache County School District, but there are some who go the extra mile, spend the extra time, spend the extra money and just excel in what they do,” Erekson explains. “This is about recognizing that and about making sure they understand we want teachers like this in our district, in our community and in our area. We want to reward them for that and that is why we recognize them.”
Belva Hansen, a former teacher at Sky View High School and the mother of real estate mogul Del Loy Hansen, also awards the Hansen Honorarium Award, which is essentially a teach of the year award to a teacher at Mountain Crest and a teacher at Sky View.
Besides recognizing excellence in teaching, the Cache Education Foundation also helps award numerous scholarships to graduating high school seniors in the district.
“It’s always great to go to the awards assemblies and honor those students with those scholarships,” says Teri Lewis, director of the Cache Education Foundation. “Most of those scholarships are generous amounts, $2,500, which is a huge amount that put a dent in the cost for a student to attend higher education.”
Lewis says many of the scholarships are named after former educators in memoriam and awarded to students who pursue some of the similar passions of those educators. The foundation also awarded its first Bill Lindauer ‘It’s a Great Day for Learning’ teacher award. Lindauer was an educator in Nibley for many years and passed away recently. His family approached the foundation and created a teacher award and its first recipient was Nena Copeland, a 4th grade teacher at Greenville Elementary School.
With one new high school beginning this fall and another next year, Lewis says the need for financial support to fund more student scholarships and teacher awards is important.
“The need is great and the cause is worthy,” she says. “We hope that anyone who values education would step forward and donate to the Cache Education Foundation and pay it forward to the next generation.”
Lewis invites people to visit the foundation’s <a href=”http://cefut.org/” target=”_blank”>website</a> or <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/Cache-Education-Foundation-243931572307344/?fref=ts” target=”_blank”>Facebook page</a> to learn more about the Hats Off awards, student scholarships or other programs the foundation sponsors to help students, teachers and classrooms.
<table border=”0″><caption>2016 Hats Off Award recipients </caption><tbody><tr><td><strong>TEACHER</strong></td><td><strong>SCHOOL</strong></td><td><strong>SPONSOR</strong></td></tr><tr><td>Cade Bassett</td><td>Mountain Crest</td><td>JBS</td></tr><tr><td>Christa Bell</td><td>North Cache</td><td>Rigo Chaparro – State Farm</td></tr><tr><td>Karen Budd</td><td>Wellsville</td><td>Lewiston State Bank</td></tr><tr><td>Laurel Buttars</td><td>River Heights</td><td>Young Toyota-Honda</td></tr><tr><td>Jeanine David</td><td>Cedar Ridge</td><td>Herberger’s</td></tr><tr><td>Meg Erekson</td><td>Spring Creek</td><td>Cache Valley Bank</td></tr><tr><td>Barbara Ferris</td><td>South Cache</td><td>Meridian Ventures / Cache Valley Bank</td></tr><tr><td>Penny Findlay</td><td>Mountain Crest </td><td>Hickman Land Title</td></tr><tr><td>Breauna Jelke</td><td>River Heights</td><td>Cache Title and Caffe Ibis</td></tr><tr><td>Lester Lee</td><td>Sky View</td><td>Adams Wealth Advisors</td></tr><tr><td>Mandee Martindale </td><td>River Heights</td><td>Pepperidge Farm</td></tr><tr><td>Jeremy Smith</td><td>Birch Creek</td><td>Northern Title Company</td></tr></tbody></table>