Student Nomination Story

Our family was fortunate enough to have Mrs. Gray as the kindergarten teacher for a second time. Several years ago she taught our daughter, Rachel and this year our son, Ben, had the opportunity to have Mrs. Gray. She is known in the community as "one of the best" teachers that our district has and after several years of being in the school system, I can say that it is certainly true. The lessons that she teaches the kids extend well beyond the classroom. Not only does she provide knowledge to her students but the confidence they need to possess at an early age so that they may thrive later in life. For Teacher Appreciation Week this year, all of the kids were to write a note to one of the teachers in the school. When I went and visited the school, I learned that Rachel wrote hers thanking Mrs. Gray for always being so kind and supportive. She went on to say that what Mrs. Gray taught her in kindergarten was the basis for everything she has learned later in school. Earlier this school year I saw Rachel reading a book that Mrs. Gray had put together for each student called King of the Jungle. In the book Mrs. Gray had each student write something that they liked about that person. Anytime Rachel is feeling down about herself, she reads that book and it puts a smile on her face. My husband and I have also overheard Rachel say, "you've got this Rachel. Mrs. Gray would just tell you to take a deep breath and try your best because you can do it". Rachel hasn't had Mrs. Gray in three years, but Mrs. Gray's words still largely impact her. I don't hear anything about her current teachers or even ones in the past, just Mrs. Gray. This year was tough with Ben starting kindergarten after not being in preschool the previous year due to Covid. He did not have many friends and was somewhat apprehensive about starting school despite knowing Mrs. Gray from Rachel having her. We were thrilled to learn that once Ben got to class with Mrs. Gray he never looked back. He loved going to school and looked forward to all of the fun activities that she had planned for them every day. You could tell that she put in a lot of time and effort to make sure that the kids were not only learning but having fun the entire time. Throughout the year they did many fun special activities. They had caterpillars in their room and learned about them and watched them grow into beautiful butterflies before releasing them. Mrs. Gray took the time to help each child plant carrots and green beans that they will be able to bring home. They did a project for "Someone Special" and delivered to someone who means a lot to them. Mrs. Gray has a "warm and fuzzy" jar in the classroom and every time the class does something good, she adds a pom-pom ball to the jar. Once the jar is filled they do a special activity as a class. One time they went outside and played in the snow. It was the first time some of the kids ever had the opportunity to play outside in snow. Mrs. Gray is constantly providing special moments for the kids in her room. Not only is she wonderful to the kids in her classroom, but the entire school. She works behind the scenes and is on more committees than I even know about. Every Veteran's Day she coordinates a special assembly for the Veterans in the community to recognize them for their service to our country. Once Covid hit, she did not let that stop her. She switched her in-person assembly to a special video recognizing those men and women. Ben loved having a class "job" every week and was always very proud of himself when he would come home and say that Mrs. Gray said he had done a good job or that she was proud of him. Several weeks ago, Ben received the game ball after his baseball game. It was 8 o'clock at night and Ben wanted me to e-mail Mrs. Gray and show her a picture of the game ball because he knew that she would be so proud of him. He settled for telling her about it at school the next day. Most weeks on a Friday night before bed, Ben would ask us if he had school the next day because he was so excited to go. Ben's class appeared to have a wide range of social and intellectual abilities but that didn't slow Mrs. Gray down. She continued to treat each child like they were her own and always being kind and patient to everyone all day long. I have seen Mrs. Gray interact with the students and she has the patience of a saint. She is constantly redirecting some kids while answering questions of others. Never did she appear to get frustrated with the million directions that she was being pulled. She also makes sure that no matter how much of her time one student may be requiring, the others are not left out and they get an equal amount of her. In February, my mom passed away fairly suddenly which greatly impacted our whole family, especially Rachel and Ben as they were extremely close to her. In the weeks and months following her death, Ben would come home from school and curl up in a ball and sob on the couch. I was very worried about how it was impacting him at school and Mrs. Gray took the time to reassume me that he was doing just fine with his friends and there were no issues in school. Never did she brush it off or make me feel like my concerns were not valid. She assured me that she would continue to keep an eye on him and would let me know if she noticed anything. Knowing that she cared about him and was watching him at school eased my mind more than she will ever know. Mrs. Gray is truly deserving of this award as she is not only one of the best teachers, but best people we have ever met. The world certainly needs more teachers like Mrs. Gray. In our opinion, she has set the gold standard for what every teacher should strive to be. Our children are better people for having Mrs. Gray as their teacher, role model, and hero.

Ben Robosky

To see more exceptional teacher nominees, visit The Honor Roll.