Laramie Elementary School Teacher Wins ‘VFW Teacher of the Year’
Last week, many of us celebrated Memorial Day. We show appreciation to our veterans, our troops, and other servicemembers, as we’re able to enjoy many freedoms that other countries do not offer their citizens. We listen, we pray, we adorn our houses with Old Glory, and wear the poppies to show our support. Then we go home, and enjoy the Monday off of work and school; the irony is sometimes lost in that enjoyment.
For Laramie teacher Rachel Huston, Memorial Day is not just a one-day event; it’s a perspective she exemplifies for her first-grade students at Spring Creek Elementary. “I think it is essential that today's youth are aware of the sacrifices that Veterans have made for them to enjoy the opportunities and freedoms that are afforded to them. I also feel it is important for Veterans in our community to be genuinely appreciated for their service,” Huston said.
She helps students appreciate their veterans by organizing a yearly school-wide Veteran’s Day assembly “to honor, educate, and appreciate our Veterans. All Veterans from the community are invited and recognized by the student body. Students at Spring Creek spend time making artwork, letters, and appreciations to Veterans.”
This year Huston organized with Lisa Johnson from Beitel Elementary to walk to the local VFW to show their gratitude to local veterans.
Meeting veterans is the best part for students. “The students are amazed when they see actual Veterans enter the school and speak to them. It's like seeing a real-life superhero. They have a million questions, which makes me believe they are truly invested and interested about their experiences in the military. Maybe, someday, these experiences will inspire our students to serve in the armed forces.”
Because of her efforts, Laramie Post 2221 was awarded her VFW Teacher of the Year. The VFW Wyoming website says, “Every year, the VFW recognizes exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students…
Teachers who promote civic responsibility, flag etiquette, and patriotism, and strive to help students develop a better understanding of democratic values and beliefs are prime candidates for the award. Nominations are to be turned in to your local VFW Post.”
Huston will attend the VFW State Convention in Sheridan next week in honor of her award.