The Dewey Awards are all about honoring the teachers who make a difference in our lives. Every year, charter leaders, students, and parents across the country enter their written and video submissions celebrating exceptional teachers. Named for Mr. Richard Dewey, a teacher who made a difference in the life of CSC’s founder, three entries are awarded a grant of $1000 to a charter school of their choice. Although we only select three winners, each of the entries is inspiring and worth sharing; this week we bring you a moving written entry submitted by Dottie Abshire celebrating her teacher, Ms. R.
Charter School Capital
Dewey Awards 2022
School: World Compass Academy
Nominated by Dottie Abshire
I had the great privilege of volunteering in the library for the Scholastic Book Fair in September, and got to know Mrs. R during my volunteering time. The Scholastic Book Fair, with fresh, new books, brought much joy, and some sadness, to students at World Compass Academy. Children with funds provided by parents purchased books galore (and a few knickknacks) and hurried to find a spot to examine their treasures more closely.
However, on occasion, there would be a student who lacked enough funding to get the books he or she wanted.
I am painfully familiar with the crushing disappointment of attending a book fair without enough money. My parents encouraged us to check books out of the library, but owning a book of my own was not really a priority. As a volunteer at WCA’s Book Fair, I encountered a few students in a similar situation, and I prepared to make their experience different from my own.
The first student in this situation was quite young, only 6 years old or so, and desperately wanted a graphic novel that was a few pennies over his budget. I was sorting out his change when Mrs. R appeared at my shoulder. Already tuned into her students’ needs, Mrs. R immediately stepped in behind the counter and took over the exchange. Without hesitation or announcing her actions, Mrs. R discretely opened her wallet and supplied whatever amount the child needed. She rung him up with a smile, bagged his book and handed him the receipt.
Repeatedly, I watched Mrs. R open her wallet, and add all her change and plenty of cash, or create discounts to ensure every student who wanted a book was able to purchase one. She contributed well over $100 of her own money to the registers during the week-long event.
Afterwards, I discovered that these acts of generosity are commonplace for Mrs. R, whose husband always asks her how much they’ve “spent” at each annual Book Fair. I believe this type of character, one who values the opportunities that reading provide for children, who stays connected to her students to know their needs, and who sacrifices so much of themselves for the sake of others, should be amply rewarded.