Ten teachers selected in student essay contest
Blair teacher Jeanette Simmons was selected as a winner of the Haywood All-Star Teacher Award, sponsored by the Washington Wizards, based on an essay written by sophomore Morgan Nixon. Simmons was one of ten teachers from the Washington, D.C., area to receive this award.
The 10 teachers and students were given complimentary tickets to the Feb. 12 Wizards game. During halftime, teachers were each presented a $1,000 check and a signed basketball from Wizards center Brendan Haywood.
Nixon, who has not had Simmons as a teacher, was able to write the essay about Simmons's positive influence as a teacher because Simmons sponsors the MBHS W.E.B. Dubois Honor Society, which Nixon was inducted into last year. "Even though she isn't my teacher, she is a really good sponsor," said Nixon. "I wanted to give her the opportunity to win something for her own."
When Simmons read Nixon's letter she was surprised and pleased by the impact she had made on a student whom she does not teach and sees only every two weeks at honor society meetings. "From [the meetings], she was able to write a letter that brought tears to my eyes," said Simmons.
In her essay, Nixon wrote about Simmons's motivational demeanor and caring nature, mentioning the quotes that Simmons has posted around her room to provide inspiration. One of Simmons's favorite quotes is "Kids don't care what you know, they just want to know that you care," a message that demonstrates her deep concern for her students.
Although Simmons had learned of the contest only the day before the deadline, Nixon was not the only one to send in a letter about Simmons. "With one day's notice, I got 25 letters," Simmons said. The majority of these letters were from other students in the W.E.B. Dubois Honor Society and from students Simmons had taught at Eastern Middle School, where she had worked for eight years.
In her thirty years of teaching, Simmons has also been honored through the Who's Who Among American Teachers, which recognizes of teachers who have made a difference in the lives of students who receive the Who's Who academic achievement award. "In thirty years, four says a lot. When kids come back and tell you [about your influence], you know that all your teaching was not in vain," said Simmons.
Simmons has always loved being around kids; she gets her energy from them, she said. Along with her recognized care and consideration for her students, she also tries to pass on her enthusiasm to them. "I try to show it every day with my great big smile," Simmons said.
Over 1,000 student essays were received in this contest. One other teacher from Montgomery County, Jennifer Weiner, a teacher at Ashburton Elementary School in Bethesda, was selected for this award.
Lois Bangiolo. Lois Bangiolo was born on March 14, pi day, an auspicious date as she is now in the math-science magnet. In addition to writing for Silver Chips Online she runs track and is secretary of the MBHS Key Club. More »