Businesses giving free hamburgers, candy and cash in exchange for good academic and citizenship grades have long helped Tooele Junior High School students push a little harder.
It also put the teacher who made the idea a reality, Kathryn Taylor, on national television Tuesday morning representing 115 other teachers who also won national Thanks to Teachers Awards this week." `Good Morning America' read what I did, thought it was interesting and asked me to appear on the show," she said. "I wish all teachers could experience what I have these past four days. It has been one long thank you, and we all deserve that."
Taylor was one of five teachers from Utah to win the Thanks To Teachers Award sponsored by Apple Computers, the National Foundation for the Improvement of Education, the National Alliance of Business and Group W Television.
Each received a Macintosh computer and a printer, an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington and participated in a seminar on education with business and government leaders. They were also given a crystal apple in appreciation.
Other Utah winners were J. Mike Cottam of Lehi High School, Barbara Lewis of Jackson Elementary in Salt Lake City, Barbara M. Naanes of Bonneville Elementary in Salt Lake City and Brandon Thacker of Bountiful High School.
Cottam teaches music and sociology and has 15 years of experience. He received a Professional Teacher Award from the Utah Education Association, a Citation of Appreciation for Drug Prevention from the Lehi City Council and helped Lehi High to win a Drug Free School Award from President Bush on Monday.
He said, "The school is not separate from business or community, but a part of the whole society. Forming partnerships to enhance and enlarge the learning process is the natural and most efficient way to learn and grow."
Lewis teaches gifted and talented students and has helped them lobby for passage of several bills they drafted through the Legislature.
"Children must learn to develop their thinking abilities so that they can transfer their education into the real world. I implement these philosophies into my classroom by ensuring that my students have real-life experiences," she said.
Naanes teaches first grade, has 15 years of experience and has been selected district teacher leader in the career ladder program for three years.
"I work to create an atmosphere of caring and cooperation, stressing that class members need to work together as a family to help each individual succeed," Nannes said.
Thacker teaches data processing, received an Award of Excellence in 1984 for creating computer labs in his school and received a Master Teacher Award in 1988.
"In the real world a bell is never used to signal the transition from math to business, art to history or science to computers. The reduction of these artificial lines will enhance the students' ability to make information meaningful because concepts no longer exist isolated and solitary in an age awash in information," he said.