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Fri, Oct. 18

Prescott Valley Rotary honors district's top teachers

TribPhotos/Sue Tone

TribPhotos/Sue Tone

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Second-grader Roland Pursell at Humboldt Elementary School calls Trisha Budd "the nicest teacher in the whole world."

"I hope she never retires from teaching," Roland wrote in his essay to the Rotary Club of Prescott Valley nominating Budd for Teacher of the Year. Roland and eight other students, plus teachers and school principals celebrated with an awards dinner at Stoneridge Wednesday evening.

The Rotarians first recognized teachers ten years ago, honoring one from each school site in the Humboldt Unified School District and one from the special education department. In addition to the honor and a plaque, this year Credit Union West gave each teacher $250, Honeybaked Ham gave a $20 gift certificate, and each year Prescott Valley Florist donates table arrangements that go home with every teacher.

Rotary Club members call these teachers "the unsung heroes of our community." They choose the year's honorees from students' essays describing why their teachers are special.

Perseverance is a trait Marissa Archer identified in her fourth-grade teacher, Kyle Lonon, at Mountain View Elementary School.

"Mr. Lonon never gives up teaching something. He never stops helping us learn," Marissa said. "Mr. Lonon teaches us not to be lazy because he wants to see us have a very successful life."

Achievement also is at the heart of Granville Elementary School first-grader McKenzie Versteegen's nomination of LeAnn Jack.

"Look at me - I can read this speech because of Mrs. Jack," McKenzie said.

In the third grade, Alivia Jenson complimented her teacher at Liberty Traditional School, Deborah Washburn, for complimenting the students, her positive attitude, and for wishing "good to every human on the earth."

"I am amazed at how she handles all of the students in her room when they are rude," Alivia said.

Joshua Castro-Saravia would like to keep his resource teacher, Leslie Pigg, for another year at Lake Valley Elementary School. He said he has learned to write, read and do math better because of Pigg.

Students at Coyote Springs Elementary School won't have the opportunity to have Tom Cotton as a teacher next year. Fifth-grader Elijah Marley said one of the reasons he would like Mr. Cotton chosen as Teacher of the Year is because "he has been a great teacher for more than 16 years and is retiring."

Sixth-grade teacher Sheryl Slothower moved to Glassford Hill Middle School, but it was a former fifth-grade student at Granville Elementary School who nominated her this year. Juan Salinas said Slothower is a teacher whom no one wants to get on the bad side, "or else she will teach you some discipline; it's not that she hates you, it's just that she wants you to be a successful gentleman or lady in the future."

"When I found out that she moved up to middle school I was very happy that I would be able to see her and wished I could be in her class again," Juan said. "Unfortunately, she only teaches sixth- grade, but I go by her class and check on her to make sure she is doing OK."

At Bradshaw Mountain Middle School, Meghan Belsito acknowledged her lack of enthusiasm for language arts. Her teacher, Linda Schwandt, changed that.

"She has a way of making Language Arts fun; a way of making the lessons interesting and easy to understand, and a way of making the required reading enjoyable," Meghan said. "I can honestly say that it is one class that I look forward to each day."

Chloe Huff nominated her math teacher, Doug Beilfuss, for Teacher of the Year from Bradshaw Mountain High School.

"It's so easy to see that Mr. B. truly cares about his students, whether it's just helping us understand that day's lesson, or he's there to listen to our problems outside of his class," Huff said. "No matter what your problem is, he's always there for you. And that's what it takes to make or break a student."

Karin Dunn's students at Mountain View Elementary School do not write or speak, said Kay Turner, HUSD director of Special Education. Speaking on behalf of the students in Dunn's autism program, Turner said the students are grateful for Dunn's help in learning to regulate themselves and be successful in their academic studies.

"Karin has enthusiastically embraced our elementary autism program," Turner said.

Supt. Henry Schmitt described one of his favorite teachers as someone who asked penetrating questions, stimulated and expanded students' minds.

PV Rotary Club President Jim Clemens, Vice President of Marketing Rosie Hardenburger with Credit Union West, Mayor Harvey Skoog and his wife, Edna, and HUSD Volunteer Coordinator Carm Staker also attended the ceremony.

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