DEARBORN — The Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce and Dearborn Public Schools recognized and honored the winners of the 2020 Teacher of the Year Students’ Choice Awards on Sept. 28.
The ceremony was hosted by the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce and presented by LaFontaine Automotive Group and was to recognize the Teacher of the Year for grade categories Pre-Kindergarten- second grade, third – fifth grade, middle school and high school.
The winning teachers were Andrea Sims of DuVall Elementary School (Pre K-second grades), Michael Hawkins of Nowlin Elementary School (third-fifth grades), Ryan Piche of Bryant Middle School and Dan Taylor of Fordson High School.
All four winners will be given a hand-made glass apple award made by the Glass Academy in Dearborn, a $1,000 cash prize and a year-long membership to The Henry Ford Museum, courtesy of the chamber.
Chamber President Jackie Lovejoy said the process is extensive for choosing the winners.
“We start this process in the fall and are ready with our winners before April 1,” Lovejoy said. “That timeline really served us well with the pandemic arriving. We’ve been waiting to award in our usual style, and we just couldn’t delay any longer.”
Sims was nominated by one of her first grade students, Addison.
“My teacher is funny and smart,” Addison’s nomination essay said. “She knows all the answers… She made a field trip just so my mom could go with me when she was off work. It made me so happy. School is fun because I get to draw pictures and write stories.”
Hawkins, a fourth grade teacher, was nominated by his student Liana Llamas.
“My caring teacher not only makes learning fun but is very inspirational with his kind words we see every morning,” Llamas’ nomination essay said. “I think those words of encouragement are not only positive and motivational, but are a fun way of thinking about our future goals and aspirations.”
Middle school teacher of the year Piche was nominated by a student who said that Piche made several sacrifices for his students.
“Mr. Piche has helped me throughout the years,” the student’s nomination essay said. “He is always willing to have a personal conversation, even if he has to sacrifice much of his time. I’ve never had a teacher like him before and am glad I had him in a classroom.”
Orchestra and band student Heba Chokr nominated Taylor.
“It’s because of orchestra I have learned to become a better listener and a better student that isn’t focused on just themselves,” Chokr’s nomination letter said. “Without Taylor the lessons that I have learned wouldn’t have been as clear and without those lessons, I wouldn’t be prepared for college or life.”
Superintendent Glenn Maleyko posted a “one Minute Message” thanking all of the teachers who were nominated.
“I want to thank all of the outstanding teachers that were nominated for the great work that you do,” he said. “I want to congratulate the winners. Great job. You represent all the great teachers in the district. I want to thank you for your hard work and dedication.”