Every year, each of the five finalists for the Duval County Teacher of the Year are granted $1,000 by the Rotary Clubs of Duval County to use for a classroom project of their choosing.
And the impact they create is always far greater. With the recent announcement of the 2012 Teacher of the Year (read more about him here), we thought you might like to know what the 2011 finalists were up to over the last year.
Each one of them used the funds to improve their schools and classrooms and expressed over and over their appreciation for the gift from the Rotary members.
What was really special about the 2011 class is that, to a one, they all leveraged their funds for the greater benefit of their schools and community, whether it was to purchase playground equipment or fund a scholarship to help future teachers of the year.
- Amber Jubinsky
Ms. Youmone Berrien (2011 Duval County Teacher of the Year)
Jean Ribault Senior High
The $1,000 gift Berrien received from the Rotary Clubs was broken down into smaller increments and turned into Rotary sponsored scholarship awards for four young ladies of the Ladies First Organization of First Coast High School. The organization is founded on the tenets of Sisterhood, Scholarship, and Service. Using the funds, she provided three Sisterhood, Scholarship, and Service scholarship recipients with $200 awards and created the 'Ladies First Organization's Presidents Award' for $400. Three of the four recipients used their awards to purchase books for their programs at Florida A & M University and the fourth recipient's money was used towards tuition at Florida State College of Jacksonville. The young ladies are so thankful to the Rotary Clubs for assisting in their transition to college through these scholarships.
Ms. Katy Burns (2011 Finalist)
Burns used the money to purchase a piece of playground equipment for Beauclerc Elementary. She wanted something that students could enjoy, but the school would otherwise not be able to purchase. Even though it was a favorite for kids during recess, the crawling tube on the school playground had to be removed two years ago due to its dangerous condition. Using the Rotary funds, she worked with the principal and safety workers from the district to choose a new play tube and it was installed this week. All of the teachers and students are so excited!
Mr. Andrew Hubbuch (2011 Finalist)
Justina Road Elementary
Hubbuch used the scholarship to establish a school account that would benefit the Justina Road Teacher of the Year for the next five years. From the initial $1,000, each year, the teacher selected to represent Justina Road as Teacher of the Year will receive $200 to benefit his or her classroom and students. The funds can be used on things such as classroom supplies, professional development materials/classes, student incentives, and technology upgrades. Hubbuch, along with the school principal and bookkeeper, will award the $200 each year. He is most appreciative of the opportunity to support the excellent teachers at Justina Road for the next several years through this scholarship.
Ms. Andrea Miranda (2011 Finalist)
Ft. Caroline Middle School
Miranda spent the scholarship funds on much needed supplies for classrooms and school-wide activities. Using wish lists created by teachers, she purchased resources such as reading materials, workbooks, pencil sharpeners, boxes of tissues, white-board markers, etc. During the swimming season, she helped to purchase t-shirts for some of the students who couldn't afford to pay for their own. Additionally, she bought food and supplies to hold free pancake breakfasts for all of the teachers and staff every planning day throughout the year. She used the remaining funds to help with the Fort Caroline Christmas Party by purchasing food, decorations, prizes, etc. to help encourage the teachers who have been working so hard. She was so grateful for the opportunity to help bless and encourage students and teachers with the scholarship.
Mr. Edward Moore (2011 Finalist)
Northwestern Middle School
Moore used his scholarship to benefit his classroom and those of other teachers and students. He used some of the funds to purchase a camera, which he and the students use to capture memories made at the school. He also purchased a timer to assist with keeping FCIM time periods aligned, calculators for use during 7th grade FCAT preparation and testing, and a key box for the school secretary. He and the other staff at Northwestern are extremely grateful for the gift.
This fall, voters will have a chance to determine the direction of our public schools through four School Board elections and a referendum on a half-penny sales tax for Duval County Public Schools.