I attended the American Education Week Celebration Wednesday at the Elks Club in Shenandoah, hosted by the Shenandoah Iowa Education Foundation. Many deserving individuals were honored for the role they have in the Shenandoah Community School District and community.

Five teachers (Tahrae Bonnes, Maria Blake, Amy Bopp, Liz Skillern, and Sarah Martin) shared their story with emotion and passion for why they became teachers and continue to teach. I found myself drawn into their stories and came away knowing how very dedicated, caring and inspiring these teachers are.

My daughter had many wonderful teachers over the years while she attended the Shenandoah Community Schools. However, there was one teacher who always stood out to me and continues to do so today. Her passion for educating was visible, and her ability to connect with each student and their parents amazes me. That teacher, Tammie Stettler, was awarded the 2019 Teacher of the Year by the Shenandoah Iowa Education Foundation.

Before the program begin, I was visiting with a retired teacher from Shenandoah schools and I was sharing with her how it amazed me some teachers seemed to remember not only every student’s name that they had taught, but the names of the student’s parents as well. Stettler is one of those teachers. I don’t know if she realizes what an impact she makes on people by always speaking to them and remembering their names.

A second award given was the 2019 Friend of Education to Skateland Roller Rink, and its owners Marcia Volker and MaryAnn Goodrich. Skateland Roller Rink is an icon in Shenandoah that has provided many individuals with fond memories growing up. The community is grateful Marcia and MaryAnn continue to keep this establishment open in Shenandoah. As a grandma, I now get to enjoy making memories with my grandkids at Skateland Roller Rink.

When I moved into the editor’s position here at The Valley News in September, it took me a bit to get my bearings and wrap my head around how I was going to keep everything organized. It was and still is important to me that I give the community and education events the coverage they deserve. Anita Baker has gone above and beyond helping me by answering my many questions and keeping me informed of Shenandoah school events. Anita received the 2019 support staff of the year award.

Thank you, Anita, for all that you do.

I left the event Wednesday evening with a new appreciation for our teachers and support staff and an understanding of everything they continue to do for our students. Thank you, Shenandoah teachers, and support staff for your dedication.

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