Staples’ Tolmie Avenue general manager Don Routliffe

Black Press and Staples ask you to think about Great Teachers in your life

Our second annual celebration of awesome educators in Greater Victoria kicks off online reader nomination process

Most adults have a teacher who played an important role in their development.

For those still in the education system or recently graduated, there’s likely one or more teachers who you believe make learning inspirational. It could be the respectful way they treat students, the fun they inject into what might otherwise be a ho-hum lesson, or maybe even the way they inspire you to be your best and set high goals.

To recognize and honour those passionate individuals who go above and beyond for their students, Black Press and Staples present the second annual Great Teachers celebration.

Starting next Friday, we’ll begin a six-week feature in your community newspaper that puts school teachers in the spotlight, with stories about special educators and the way they creatively help students learn.

Once again we call on you our readers, to nominate the currently working teacher(s) who you feel goes the extra mile to make learning and growing enjoyable and meaningful. We encourage parents of grade school students to talk to them about their teachers and ask who they would like to nominate.

“Raising four kids who are currently in the local elementary and middle school system, I am inspired and touched by the random acts of kindness teachers do every day,” said Black Press associate group publisher Oliver Sommer.

“In the media we often report on the extraordinary, but there are so many other stories of inspiration from teachers making a difference in the lives of our children.”

Great Teachers is designed to celebrate teaching in the public and private systems across our region. We ultimately single out three teachers; one each at the elementary, middle school and high school levels; but many more are deserving.

“Anything we can do to acknowledge and recognize those individuals who are responsible for the development of our youth, and the coaching and education, is extremely valuable,” said Gerry Denis, general manager of Staples in Langford. “It can be a thankless job at times –  I have a lot of friends who are teachers – and it’s not easy, so they certainly deserve recognition for what they’re doing.”

The passion for teaching shown by last year’s honourees; now-retired ‘Kelset elementary teacher Marilyn Hodgson, music director Andrea Blair from Gordon Head middle school and high school music director Jamie Davis from Spectrum; inspired past and present students and parents alike to nominate them with stories of admiration, respect and genuine affection.

Don Routliffe, general manager of the Tolmie Avenue Staples store in Saanich, says the response to last year’s Great Teachers celebration was “incredible.”

“It provided so much exposure to how positive teachers can be and how so many of their students and/or colleagues have been engaged in the process of letting them know how terrific they are,” he said.

The ability for readers to submit their own stories about the awesome teachers in their lives couldn’t be easier. You’ll find a link to the Great Teachers nomination form on this newspaper’s website. After the May 31 nomination deadline, the submissions will be compiled and a shortlist created for adjudication by an outside panel of judges.

In June, we’ll announce three honourees for 2015 in a special supplement that will include the nomination letters, offering a chance to get a better sense of how these special individuals make an impact.

“Black Press and Staples developed the Great Teachers program to celebrate educators across our region,” Sommer said. “The three nominees who are ultimately selected play a representative role for the great deeds of many across our region who are dedicated to teaching future generations.”

editor@goldstreamgazette.com