While the pandemic has delayed many celebrations, the Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation still found a way to pay tribute to the SCV’s educators with a virtual Teacher Tribute ceremony.
After being postponed for months, the SCV Education Foundation partnered with all five local school districts to make sure to continue supporting local educators, creating a pre-recorded video in lieu of the usual in-person event.
“Although a virtual teacher tribute is not our ideal way to honor you, we couldn’t let the year pass without recognizing your accomplishments,” Dave Caldwell, the event’s host and SCV Education Foundation board member, said as the video began. “It continues to be our passion to celebrate all teachers, but it’s especially important to recognize you, our teachers of the year. You represent 2,200 school teachers from our 55 public schools here in Santa Clarita, and we really do think the world of you.”
More than 50 teachers from all five districts were recognized by their superintendents for their dedication, especially during this unprecedented time, as they learned how to make distance learning successful for each and every student’s needs.
“2020 has definitely been a year we will not forget, but what I will tell you is the teachers in our Newhall School District, they just change on the fly. They’re willing to adapt, they’re willing to persevere,” Newhall School District Superintendent Jeff Pelzel said, as he honored 10 teachers from his district.
“All teachers have shown tremendous resiliency, perseverance and creative adaptability during these treacherous times,” added Steve Doyle, superintendent of the Castaic Union School District, as he paid tribute to four of his district’s teachers.
In addition to teacher tributes, the video featured some of the SCV Education Foundation’s programs, such as “Bag of Books,” which is designed to encourage reading and improve literacy skills, teacher innovation grants, which helped to fund distance learning supplies to more than 400 local teachers last summer, and student scholarships, which have awarded more than $500,000 since 1995 to high school students who demonstrate an interest in becoming future educators.
The honored teachers had been delivered gift baskets, with dinner, a bottle of wine, desserts, a printed program, tote bag, personalized award and more, to enjoy as they watched the video.
“We hope family and friends who joined us from outside of Santa Clarita got a better understanding of the dedication and commitment our Teacher Tribute honorees display each and every day in the classroom,” said Jim Backer, board president of the foundation. “Our schools are better places because of them, Santa Clarita is a better community because of them and the world is a better place because of them.”
Saugus residents Sharon and Scott Enright were thrilled to be able to watch as Saugus Union School District Superintendent Colleen Hawkins honored their daughter, Mountainview Elementary School teacher Michelle Green.
“In these austere times where all the news is often negative, this is a breath of fresh air for our community,” said Scott Enright, Green’s step-dad. “It was very tear-jerking and wonderful to hear them say how good she is. She is an amazing, amazing teacher, and we are so proud of her.”
Green grew up in the SCV, and has wanted to be a teacher since she was in the third grade, Green’s mother Sharon said. Green was one of the first teachers to volunteer to return to in-person teaching.
“That’s how much she loves her students, she would do anything to try to help get them back to normal,” Sharon added. “That’s where her heart is. … I’m very, very proud.”