Hansen, Richards receive Chamber education awards
By JANE UTECHT, Staff Reporter
The Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce hosted an education reception for local educators and the businesses of the Madison Chamber on Tuesday night.|
The purpose of the event was five-fold, said Chamber Director Rosie Jamison. The gathering provided an opportunity to show appreciation and support for the teachers and a chance for them, whether at the collegiate or primary/secondary levels, to come together.
The reception with the community businesses also provided educators some exposure to the opportunities the Chamber businesses provide, as well as encouragement to be contributing members of the area.
It was also a time to recognize two award recipients, presented by Chamber Education Committee President Cecelia Wittmayer.
The annual Chamber's Educator of the Year Award goes to a teacher "who has made an impact on education." For 2013, this honor was presented to Jennifer Richards, high school vocal music teacher.
Richards was nominated by Dawn Wiebers, high school chemistry teacher, who said she nominated Richards because she is just vibrant and dynamic, teaching music to the top notch. Although the fine arts and the hard sciences are sometimes at odds in the national education scene, that is not the case locally.
"You see all the joy on the students' faces...and you know that's a quality educator," Wiebers said. "You can't pass up an opportunity to recognize that."
The 2013 Friend of Education Award, for an individual or organization who has made "significant contributions to education," went to Paul Hansen of Madison.
Hansen was nominated by Middle School Principal Cotton Koch and Lee Threadgold. Koch said he has never been to an event that Hansen has not put everything into being supportive of the schools, not just with moral support but with physical help as well. Hansen was a natural fit for this award, Koch said.
Richards and Hansen were both surprised by their awards. Richards said she was "blown away" by the honor; Hansen too, admitted he was "shocked. A lot of people should be standing beside me," he said.
Jamison summed up the evening: "We are all in this together to improve the future of Madison and the young people in the area."