National Teaching Award Nominee
Union Academy, Monroe, North Carolina
Student Nomination Story
The Honored Committee, I would like to take the time to tell you about a true unsung hero Mrs. Cara Schaefer. Mrs. Schaefer has been teaching for 23 years and is currently a 2nd grade teacher at Union Academy Charter School in Monroe, NC. If you have ever had the opportunity of even being in Mrs. Schaefer's presence than you are more blessed than you even know. Her caring spirit and love for teaching makes each person she encounters so very blessed. She has such an amazing way for connecting with her students and making them as comfortable as family. She works countless hours coming up with innovative and creative ways to keep all her students engaged daily. Her classroom "Schaytown" as she calls it is unlike any classroom you have ever been a part of. The students in class can learn in new and unconventional ways which allows them to grow in all kinds of new areas. The time and effort she put into each day's lesson plans does not go unseen. The children come home each day with such a spark for learning that has been ignited by Mrs. Schaefer. She runs her classroom as a town and all students have a job to make Schaytown run smoothly. The children must apply for jobs each quarter and go through an interview process. Once students are assigned jobs, they work month long assignments while also being giving tickets throughout the month by the classroom police who are on the lookout for bad behavior. Once the month wraps up the students get presented with a paycheck which they then take to the Schaytown Bank. Checks are deposited and withdraws are made by students needing to pay monthly Schaytown taxes and fees. If money is remaining after paying these or any police department fines the students can shop at the Schaytown market. The market is stocked with trinkets and treasures all children love each being donated by classroom parents or Mrs. Schaefer herself. This little classroom town is such an amazing thing to witness. Students learn over the course of the year that hard work, good behavior and saving your money really pay off. This amazing event is only one of the outstanding ideas Mrs. Schaefer shares with her UA family. From Spy Day to the Rainforest Tea, the Amazing Race and the 2nd grade market she puts 100% of herself into all her magical events. I could go on all day to explain to you how absolutely amazing she is. Her huge heart and love of students does not stop once you leave her classroom. She is always with you to support you and guide you no matter how many years ago you were in her classroom. She leaves a lasting impression on all those in her presence and our family was and is so very blessed to have met her. You will not find a more deserving teacher with such professionalism, creativity and love of teaching than that of Mrs. Cara Schaefer herself! We thank you for your time in honoring amazing teachers. Sincerely, The Boda Family
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