Fayette County teachers recognized for taking extra step
Recognizing special dedication and compassion in area educators, the Advisory Board of the Fayette County Children & Youth Services decided this year to create a special distinction recognizing one area teacher whose work and actions go one step further than their required daily duties.
The David L. Madison Compassionate Educator Award, named in honor of retired Children and Youth Services Administrator David L Madison, recognizes educators who go beyond their mandated reporter requirements to reach out and uplift children and youth in need.
“This is for those teachers who take one more step, who go a little beyond,” FCCYS Advisory board member Cindy Riley said. “These educators have a positive impact on children and youth. This is about the true heart of the teachers and about the ones who go over and above their duties in reporting requirements and do a little bit more.”
The organization announced that they would be awarding the distinction and invited members of area communities to submit essays about special candidates that would then be reviewed for consideration.
“We had a special board that then reviewed the entries and selected who they felt were the best ones,” Riley said of the 16 entries received for educators from all over Fayette County.
The five finalists were selected in early April, and the winner was announced at a recent dinner and awards ceremony.
Those who nominated their candidates for consideration were present at the dinner, and each read their entry or told why they were nominating their special educator.
This year's winner is Mary Chesler, an eighth-grade teacher at St. John's the Evangelist Regional Catholic School.
“Miss Mary is the most amazing and inspirational person that I have ever met,” student Allison Bilohlavek read from her essay nominating Chesler. “I think that she is the best person in the world for this award.”
For her top honors, Chesler will receive $250 and the four runners-up will receive $50 each.
“I am truly honored,” Chesler said. “I am touched, honored and humbled.”
Riley said that the group hopes to make the award an annual distinction.
“We would really like to keep this up,” she said. “This is something that we would like to be able to do every year.”
Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.