An Open Letter to My Favorite Teacher

This week Barnes and Noble has special discounts for educators. In tandem to their educator appreciation days (ending Sunday, April 17) my favorite teacher contest winners were announced. This story stems from Barnes and Nobles in Newburgh, New York.

New York, NY – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the nation’s largest retail bookseller and the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, named Pamela Ugor (ight in photo) an English Language Arts Teacher from Monroe-Woodbury High School the local winner of the Barnes & Noble 'My Favorite Teacher' contest. Ugor was chosen from the many entries at the Barnes & Noble at 1245 Route 300, Union Avenue in Newburgh, NY. She was nominated by eleventh-grader, Cory Vogel (second from left in photo).

Students were invited to nominate their favorite teacher by writing essays, poems, or thank-you letters that explain how their teacher has influenced their life and reveal why they appreciate and admire him or her. Entries were judged on the compelling nature of the teacher’s qualities, the sincerity of the student’s appreciation, and the quality of expression and writing.

Pamela Ugor was recognized at an event at the Newburgh Barnes & Noble on Tuesday, April 12 at 6:00 PM, where she received a special award acknowledging her achievement. Cory Vogel read his letter of gratitude aloud to her with an audience of colleagues and family front and center. 

“We are so very proud of Cory and Ms. Ugor.  There is no greater compliment to a teacher than to know that you have had an impact on the lives of your students.” Said David Bernsley, Principal of Monroe-Woodbury High School. (Shown in headlining photo, second from right.)

Check out Cory's letter:

Ugor will now be entered into the regional competition where five winners will be chosen. Each regional winner will receive a $500 Barnes & Noble Gift Card. From the pool of five regional winners, Barnes & Noble will name one teacher the Barnes & Noble National Teacher of the Year. The winning teacher will receive $5,000 and the title of Teacher of the Year. The winning student will receive a $500 Barnes & Noble Gift Card. The winner will be recognized at a special community celebration at a local Barnes & Noble store. The winning teacher’s school will receive $5,000 as well.

Catherine Sobel, a Speech teacher at Valley Central Elementary School, was nominated by Paul Dellarose, a tenth-grader from Monroe-Woodbury High School in the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District. She won honorable mention at the ceremony.

Catherine Sobel said, "I can't even describe how touched I was that Paul thought of me so many years later." Monroe-Woodbury Principal Bernsley marveled at Paul's speaking ability - a feat he had clearly mastered in the eight years since attending speech classes with Sobel. Principal Bernsley also publicly thanked his own speech teachers admitting he had trouble with his 'th' and 'r's' as a young person.

The Barnes & Noble My Favorite Teacher Contest provides students with the opportunity to tell their communities how much they appreciate their teachers. Community business development manager for Barnes and Nobles, M. Grace Cantwell, compared classrooms and bookstores as places where aspiration, passion, education and dreams can come true.