Shining a light on education, the Arlington Kiwanis Club recently awarded Teacher of the Year honors to three outstanding educators in the Arlington school district at a luncheon attended by more than 200 appreciative guests who included principals, administrators, teachers and Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos.
Taking home the honors were Michelle Fratto from Martin High School, Harrison McCoy from Ferguson Junior High School and Michele Hosey of Beckham Elementary School. Each received a monetary award in cooperation with the Educational Employees Credit Union, a certificate of recognition from the Texas House of Representatives and a plaque.
Club President Al Becker said the awards ceremony continues a Kiwanis tradition spanning more than 50 years of recognizing “the vital role that teachers play in the development of young people.” Heading the Kiwanis committee for the awards event was club member Jannette Workman.
“The Kiwanis Club established the Teacher of the Year awards in 1962 under the leadership of its president, Woodrow Counts, who was then assistant superintendent of schools and who later served as superintendent from 1979 to 1985. The awards were later officially named in Mr. Counts’ honor,” Becker continued.
Also lauded at the luncheon were nine teachers who received Awards for Excellence. Congratulations to Raquel Valadez (Swift Elementary), David Travino (Ashworth Elementary), Judy Johnson (Little Elementary), Kim Griffiths (Moore Elementary), Nikki Jerkins (Ditto Elementary), Michelle Thompson (Bailey Junior High), Deborah Falls (Carter Junior High), Susan Schwerts (Bowie High) and Jeannie Burt (Lamar High).
“The Kiwanis Club of Arlington believes that teachers are the community’s greatest asset, playing a key role in shaping, developing and inspiring children and young people into becoming the productive citizens of tomorrow,” Becker said.
New Day celebrates 10 years of serving at-risk students with weekend nourishment
Nonprofit New Day recently celebrated reaching a milestone 10-year anniversary of serving at-risk students at 18 Arlington schools. The festivities were at the Venture High School library and attended by teachers, volunteers and supporters of the charity.
Residents Jim and Joan Smith are just two of many volunteers working with the group whose mission is to provide nourishing nonperishable meals to students in need in easy-to-open bags sufficient to cover meals for a weekend.
According to the Smiths, New Day has provided more than 11,000 bags of food, fresh fruit and other necessities to area high schools since it was established in 2005 by a group of volunteers at Grace Presbyterian Church. At times, the group also provides hygiene products, clothing, shoes and gas cards to students.
“Unfortunately, some Arlington teens are sleeping in cars and ‘couch surfing’ with friends,” writes New Day board Chairman Mike McCoy. “Our dream has been to provide a shelter for homeless teens under 18, where they may sleep, shower and be mentored until a better living situation can be obtained,” McCoy said concerning what the group hopes to accomplish in the future. Other ambitions are to provide life-skills training and more scholarships and tutoring.
Free children's concerts at Levitt Pavilion
Every Wednesday through July 8, kids of all ages will enjoy the WFAA Children’s Concert Series at the Levitt Pavilion in downtown Arlington. Two performances each Wednesday — one at 9:30 a.m. and a repeat show at 7:30 p.m. — make it easy to get the fun outings on your schedule.
Aaron Nigel Smith opens the series today with a lively show. Known as the “master of movement,” the award-winning musician always makes a special connection with the audience.
On Wednesday, Grammy award winner Terrance Simien & Creole for Kidz (of Disney’s Princess & the Frog fame) will take the stage. On June 24, Vocal Trash will entertain the kids with instruments made from repurposed materials. On July 1, Texas State Musician Sara Hickman will do a show featuring tunes from her children’s albums.
The series closes on July 8 with Joel Laviolette & Rattletree Marimba using their giant handcrafted instruments to give a rousing performance of traditional Zimbabwean style marimba.
Seating on the lawn (bring chairs or blankets), and refreshments are available for purchase. Visit www.levittpavilionarlington.org to learn more.
Events at a glance
▪ Golf Tournament for Arlington Police Department is June 15 at Tierra Verde Golf Club. Hosted by Arlington Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association, the event has a noon registration and 1:30 p.m. shotgun start in a scramble format. Cash prizes and gift cards for various contests and a $10,000 prize for hole-in-one and $5,000 for a putting contest. Art Dennis and Paul Goodman from ACPAAA are event co-chairs. Funds raised pay for unbudgeted items such as dogs for the K-9 unit, LED light kits for the motorcycles, computers, software, air compressors and other equipment. Golf fees are $100 each player. Register at www.acpaaa.net.
▪ Shrek the Musical is playing at the Uptown Theater in Grand Prairie June 12-14. Hosted by Grand Prairie Arts Council, Shrek brings all the beloved characters you know from the film to life on stage, and proves there's more to the story than meets the ears. Tickets are $11, $17 and $22. Purchase tickets online at www.artsgp.org or 972-237-8786.