Cove VFW honors CCISD teachers, students on Saturday
Special to Leader-Press
Copperas Cove ISD teachers and students compete for top military honors at VFW Post #8577 on Saturday. The local veterans’ organization and auxiliary hold their annual ceremony to announce the winners of the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award, Patriot’s Pen, and Voice of Democracy contests.
Eight CCISD teachers were nominated by their respective schools. The judges will select one teacher in grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 whose nominations will then be forwarded to the district level. The nominees are selected based on their commitment to promote civic responsibility, teach flag etiquette and instill patriotism in their students.
Copperas Cove High School teacher Charlotte Heinze was nominated by CCISD Director of Communications Wendy Sledd.
For Heinze, being an educator means knowing how to organize learning, develop and challenge students, and encourage them to reach beyond what is in front of them,” Sledd said. “She believes it is essential to keep in mind the importance of preparing students for life.”
Clements/Parsons Elementary music teacher Faustino Sanchez was nominated by Assistant Principal Kirk Balk.
“Mr. Sanchez plans the musical selections for our annual veterans’ recognition ceremony and then spends weeks getting the students ready to perform,” Balk said. “Mr. Sanchez also takes his honor choir to sign at nursing home and other city events.”
Hettie Halstead Elementary’s nomination is Amber Bottoms. Principal Brian Jost says Bottoms’ efforts with students and programs have been unsurpassed by her peers.
“Ms. Bottoms has taken over student council and has created a sense of citizenship among the participants,” Jost said. “She has identified campus areas and outside citizenship opportunities to involve the council in.”
Becki Cooper is the nominee from Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy from Principal Mary Derrick.
“Ms. Cooper organized a schoolwide event where all 550 students participated in creating a piece of art work for the Copperas Cove Fire Department and the Copperas Cove Police Department,” Derrick said. “Ms. Cooper taught a developmentally appropriate lesson about 9-11 which included creating a piece of art work with a heart and the Twin Towers. Her students were able to demonstrate empathy and an understanding of what it means to support your fellow Americans.”
Martin Walker Elementary Principal Earl Parcell nominated school librarian Teresa Garrett.
“Mrs. Garrett is a phenomenal model of democratic values and beliefs for students and staff on a daily basis. Whether she is saying the pledge of allegiance or complimenting a student helping another student, Mrs. Garrett promotes civic responsibilities with an authentic passion,” Parcell said.
Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary teacher Candace Nattiel was nominated by Principal Larea Gamble.
“Ms. Nattiel’s skills acquired in the military have benefited her campus and students since she became a teacher,” Gamble said. “She models excellent character to students and colleagues in all her interactions.”
Williams/Ledger Elementary teacher Eden Briscoe was nominated by Principal Marla Sullivan.
“Eden teaches citizenship-related skills every day by modeling cooperation, strength and self-improvement for her students. Likewise, she expects these same skills to be demonstrated by her students each day in their interactions with their peers as well as with adults at school,” Sullivan said.
House Creek Elementary teacher Kristen Guess was nominated by Principal Todd Williams.
“Mrs. Guess’ leadership extends throughout our campus since she has led teacher training for our staff this school year. She guided our teachers in professional development training on the Math Workshop Model,” Williams said.
CCISD students in grades 6-8 have entered the VFW Patriot’s Pen contest which requires them to write a 300-400 word essay reflecting on American history and how they view today’s society.
Cove High School students have entered this year’s Voice of Democracy contest. Established in 1947, the VOD requires students to record a 3-5 minute speech.
Winners of both the Voice of Democracy and Patriots’ Pen contests will be announced along with the VFW Teachers of the Year on Saturday at the VFW Post #8577, 1506 Veterans Ave., Copperas Cove. The program includes lunch and begins at 11 AM. The post winners advance to the VFW District 14 contest on January 19 in Belton.