The Real Reason We Love Teachers

With all the talk about schools and testing this week, this story seemed like a breath of fresh air. On Wednesday, April 15th, 2015, Barnes and Nobles Newburgh held a ceremony honoring a student for her winning essay about why she loves her teacher. Jillian Paige, a special education teacher at Newburgh Prep, was there to receive the honor as well. Judges of the contest included representatives from FOX radio, Barnes and Noble and the local school district. 

Here is Jillian Vansickle's winning essay in its entirety: 

"I felt for years that I just attended school, learned very little, and excelled even less. This all changed when you told me I was smart."

It was a beautiful and honest entry from one Jillian to another. Mayor Judy Kennedy was there to share in the celebration declaring April 15th Jillian Paige day in an official proclamation from the city. She said this to the crowd (and to Jillian):

I was touched by your letter. It is what we want for our children.... to discover that you as a student - this beautiful being - that you came into this world perfect just as you are, and now you have the chance to manifest that greatness. It took a teacher to help her see that greatness. A teacher can make all the difference in the world. 

Honorable mention was also given to Janart Retamorzo for his declaration of appreciation to his Heritage Middle School Teacher, Mr. P. Representatives from Heritage Middle School and Newburgh Free Academy administration were in attendance. 

Gifts were given to the educators and the essayists. 

Mayor Judy Kennedy from the City of Newburgh (Left) and Melissa O'Hare - NFA principal

It was a beautiful event by Barnes and Noble. In conjunction with discounts being offered to educators there were also teaching resource materials on hand for distribution. My Favorite Teacher contest provides the opportunity for students to tell their teachers how much they mean to them and publicly recognizes the importance of educators in their communities. 

We still have high hopes that our winners will advance by winning the regional competition! The appreciation shown to our teachers is never as sweet as when it comes from one of their own students.  I hope this helps make this difficult week in our schools just a little more pleasant. 

Don’t forget that Barnes & Noble Educator Appreciation Days continue through Sunday, 4/19 with 25% off all personal and professional trade book purchases, toys, games, music and movies with your Educator Discount Card.*

- Grace Cantwell, Community Business Development Manager, Newburgh Barnes and Nobles

JIllian Vansickle and Jillian Paige will compete at the regional level for a chance to win a $500 gift card to B & N. 

"Don't get yourself down into the weeds with the issues that happen. They're there, we know they're there. But stay focused on what's good and right and uplifting and we're going to make it." - Mayor Judy Kennedy


Headlining Photo: Russell Gilmore, Executive Director; Jillian Vansickle; Jillian Paige; and John Healy, Principal

* Certain restrictions apply.  Customer must present a valid Barnes & Noble Educator Discount Card.