3 Teachers Selected for National Awards by the VFW
Money given to award winning teachers and their respective schools
March 24, 2014
Each year for the past 15 years, the Veterans of Foreign
Wars of the U.S. (VFW) has recognized three exceptional teachers for their
outstanding commitment to teach Americanism and patriotism to their students.
The Smart/Maher VFW
National Citizenship Education Teacher Award recipients are selected from
entries submitted by local VFW Posts in the U.S. and overseas. The entries
detail a local teacher’s act of promoting civic responsibility, flag etiquette
and patriotism in the classroom.
There are three categories of competition: elementary school
(K-5), middle school (6-8) and high school (9-12). During the competition more than $272,000 in
awards were presented to more than 1,400 teachers at various levels in the VFW.
Shirley Harmon Helton, a fifth-grade teacher at Fairlawn Elementary School in Fort
Pierce, Fla., was named the winner at the elementary school
level. At the middle school level, Jeff Gephart, a seventh- and eighth-grade history
teacher at Holloman
Middle School on Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, N.M., was
named the winner. Tom Clark, a history
teacher at Lake Central High School in St. John, Ind., was
selected at the high school level.
Each teacher receives a $1,000 award for their professional
development and another $1,000 for their school. In addition, all three
teachers receive an all-expense-paid trip to St. Louis, Mo., where the awards
will be presented during the 2014 VFW National Convention, July 19-23.
Jones, director of VFW Programs, commented, "Next to parents, teachers
hold the key to raising up young civic-minded patriots who will perpetuate the
values that have made this nation great."
Photo Caption: From left to right:
Shirley Harmon Helton, Jeff Gephart, Tom Clark
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