There’s a first for everything, including the Thank You Teacher recognition breakfast. For the first time in 20-plus years of hosting the event, a surprising amount of snow that fell in Lincoln overnight forced Lincoln Public Schools officials to cancel the annual breakfast at the Governor’s Mansion due to unsafe winter driving conditions.
Even though the event wasn’t held as planned, we are honored to announce this year’s Thank You Teacher award winners.
“Anyone who chooses to work in a middle school is either a saint or insane,” wrote Lincoln East High School senior Veronica Chapman in her nomination of Valerie Bergo, Irving Middle School counselor. “At a time in our lives when many students were feeling closed off and lost, Mrs. Bergo was a welcoming beacon of light.”
Five educators were selected among 500 written nominations in the annual Thank You Teacher contest, which asks students throughout the community to write about how a favorite teacher impacted their lives.
Lincoln Southeast High School English teacher Julie Krueger inspired Southeast junior Trinity Babcock not only in class, but in her community interactions, as well.
Babcock wrote: “Mrs. Krueger changed my perspective on how I go about everyday life by showing me that no matter who you are, you are able to stand up and make a difference. I now feel like I can make a difference too and by setting strong goals I am able to accomplish anything.”
A hand-written letter from Jackie Stoebner, third-grade student at Meadow Lane Elementary School, described how her teacher Ardis Koehn is supportive and encouraging of her classmates: “If anyone is having a bad day, she will make us feel a thousand times better than before….”
For a Rousseau Elementary School Early Childhood parent, it was the great strides that her son, Owen, had made – thanks to his teacher, Stephanie Emry. Owen’s mother, Mary Monahan, wrote: “The first weeks were hard but she said that they would meet him where he was at… Five months later and he loves school.”
A team of first-grade teachers at Riley Elementary School wanted to honor the work and dedication of former colleague, retired teacher Kathy Wortman. Wortman still substitute teaches within the school and impacts the lives of children daily.
“She truly loves working with children, and helping them to be the best version of themselves,” wrote Vickie Neilly, Jenna Adamson and Nikki Janssen. “I watched the wonderful things she did with students and could see that she was a special kind of teacher.”
Five educators were selected among 500 written nominations in the annual Thank You Teacher contest, which asks students throughout the community to write about how a favorite teacher impacted their lives. The event is sponsored by Lincoln Public Schools and KFOR/KFRX radio.
Mary E Monahan and son Owen
Meadow Lane Elementary
Meadow Lane Elementary
Counselor at Irving Middle School
senior at East High School
English teacher at Southeast High School
junior at Southeast High School
Former teacher at Riley Elementary School
First-grade teachers Vickie Neilly, Jenna Adamson and Nikki Janssen