Your Best Teacher Stories: Check Out the Winners Here

We received more than 1,300 stories in praise of teachers, and we've selected six of the schools associated with these teachers to receive donations totaling $11,000.

Julie Sampson and her teacher Karin Bruhnke accept a $1,000 Teacher Stories award on behalf of San Pedro Senior High School. (Photo: Courtesy Brian Walker)

Jun 3, 2014· 1 MIN READ
TakePart Staff

We've all had that special teacher who encouraged us to do something great or pushed us to accomplish more than we ever thought we could. Inspired by our documentary TEACH, and in an effort to award teachers whose efforts often are overlooked, we launched the Teacher Stories program this April, in which we asked you to tell us about your favorite teachers. In return, we agreed to donate more than $10,000 through DonorsChoose.org to the public schools that received the most submissions about teachers, and to the schools whose students submitted the best stories about their teachers.

Over the past two months we've received more than 1,300 moving, inspiring, funny, and thoughtful submissions, and we are honored to announce the winners of Round 1.

The envelope, please!

Kuna Middle School in Kuna, Idaho, will be awarded the grand prize of $5,000. Its students submitted a total of 32 stories about 11 teachers.

The principal of Kuna Middle School, Deb McGrath, said that she was "thrilled" and that the money is "very much needed." She plans to use it to develop a school within a school specifically for mentoring potential first-generation college students. The program will help to create college and vocational school visiting opportunities for the students, as well as activate project-based curricula in which students will have the opportunity to begin working in their field of interest during middle school and high school.

The following schools will be awarded $1,000 each. We voted based on originality, persuasiveness, creativity, and relevance.

• East Millbrook Middle School—Raleigh, N.C. Student: Lauren Casteen; teacher: Ron Jones

• Houghtaling Elementary—Ketchikan, Alaska. Student: Shauna Hawes; teacher: Robert Andrews

• Wyomissing Hills Elementary—Wyomissing, Pa. Student: Stacy Olexy; teacher: Stephanie Myers

• Pacific High School—Ventura, Calif. Student: Jonathan Puu; teacher: Chip Fraser

• San Pedro Senior High School—San Pedro, Calif. Student: Julia Sampson; teacher: Karin Bruhnke

• Lyman Memorial High School—Lebanon, Conn. Student: Aedan Lake; teacher: Kevin Brodie

The good news is that it's not too late to honor your favorite teacher. The second round of the contest has just begun. From now until Aug. 5, submit your favorite teacher stories here for a chance to win $5,000 or $1,000 for your public school.

This article was created as part of the social action campaign for the documentary TEACH, produced by TakePart’s parent company, Participant Media, in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates.