Wal-Mart honors two THS teachers
Vickie Hughes is eager to move into the new middle school in the winter.
The family and consumer science teacher will have some spending money for new equipment when she moves into her new digs on Washington Street.
Hughes, along with high school physical education teacher Matt Bond, received a Wal-Mart/Sam's Club Teacher of the Year recognition last month.
Each received $1,000 from Wal-Mart to be used for purchases in their respective departments. Each teacher also received a $100 gift card at Wal-Mart to be used for supplies. Wal-Mart and Sam's Club partnered with Phi Delta Kapp International, a professional education association, in distributing the awards.
Hughes said she likely would hold off on using the $1,000 until after the move into the middle school, which is slated for January.
"I thought about spending it on some type of special equipment," Hughes said. "I thought when we moved into the new building I would see what we would need."
Hughes and Bond were two of 33 teachers selected in the Kansas City metro area for the honor. Just one other school had two teachers earn the award.
Teachers were nominated by members of the community in February and selected by a committee of store or club associates.
The two Tonganoxie teachers said they weren't sure who nominated them. Hughes, who called herself "Mrs. Wally World Teacher," thought it was because of her shopping record at Wal-Mart.
"I've kind of decided that they've been tracking ... the more money you spent, that's how I got my award," Hughes said with a laugh.
Although Hughes isn't sure what she'll use the money for, Bond has a pretty good idea.
He would like to purchase heart monitors for students that would be used during physical education classes.
At the June 12 school board meeting, Tonganoxie PE instructors asked board members to consider purchasing heart monitors for the entire physical education curriculum.
Last month, PE teachers traveled to Titusville, Pa., to learn about the PE4Life Institute, a program founded in 2000. The institutes' goal is to use technology, such as cardiac monitors, to evaluate students' progress based on health standards, rather than athletic standards.
The monitors would cost about $40,000. School board members will vote on the purchase of the monitors at an upcoming school board meeting.
"Basically what they're great for, it's all about getting kids heart rates up," Bond said.
The monitors also show how much energy a certain student is exerting and they track what the target range for that student should be.
Like Hughes, Bond was unsure who nominated him. A Wal-Mart official told him several teachers from the Tonganoxie and Basehor school districts were nominated.
The local winners can apply for the state teacher of the year award, which Joyce Cowen, at teacher at Fort Scott Middle School, won last year.
If selected for that honor, the teacher would be eligible for the national teacher of the year award, which carries a $10,000 educational grant through the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Hughes found out about the award last month during Tonganoxie Junior High's Night of the Stars, which is an honor night for students.
With a busy week on her plate, Hughes said she thought about not attending the ceremony. But TJHS principal Steve Woolf convinced her to attend.
"We suckered right in on it," Hughes said. "I could not believe it. I just fell for it all."
Once hooked, Hughes said she was touched that she was honored at the junior high event.
"I thought it was really neat that Mr. Woolf presented it the night he did," Hughes said. "Because I was so humbled by the fact that not only so many of my students were there, but so many of my former students who are parents. That's what happens when you get old in teaching.
"That probably was the biggest thrill for me."