When it was first disclosed that I was to be honored as the Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year, my close friends and family asked, “Is it because of the poop stations?” They were referring, in jest, I think, to the dog waste stations I facilitated around CPE. I hope the award was for more than just that.
Rather than being remembered for dog manure, I’m hopeful I’ll instead be known for all the campus trees I’ve planted at CPE, or for all my work at Anhorn Field, or for the community planting projects at Snowy Butte Station and Don Jones Park. I’m proud to say that mine was the first classroom to join the City’s Adopt-a-Street program, that I was instrumental in reviving the Sams Valley Mini Marathon, and that I spearheaded the drive to build the skate park. There’s CPE’s Outdoor Ed program, CPETV, all those baby picture shows. And, hopefully, still more to come. But when all is said and done, I most hope to be known as a teacher who simply loved all his kids—from Nikki and all my other Briscoe kids, to Amee, forever my “first student,” to all my current rotters and the ones yet to come.
I feel compelled to say that for every teacher fortunate enough to receive an award like this, there are fifty others working tremendously hard for all the right reasons going largely unnoticed. Teachers like Paul Lunte, who retired last year from Jewett and was not only a phenomenal educator, but also perhaps the most genuine person I’ve ever met. Or Garrett White, a former student during my Sams Valley days, now himself a dedicated teacher and my colleague at CPE. Or my friend Trey Jenkins, whose engaging personality and contagious enthusiasm never fails to win over a classroom of kids (or for that matter, a hotel concierge). And the late Jay McRoberts, my junior high school teacher and coach, whose profound influence helped shape me into the teacher and person I am today.
For every teacher fortunate enough to be acknowledged like this, there are fifty others who go largely unnoticed. I accept this award on their behalf.
Thank you to the people at the Chamber of Commerce and its members for the recognition.
Now, if you happen to be walking your dog around CPE . . .