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Honoring Our Own

I know you know some philanthropic students. I know you know some trailblazing educators.

So, how about nominating them for a couple of the district’s highest honors? Deadlines are approaching to nominate the 2020 Selfless Seniors (October 18) and APS Hall of Honor inductees (Oct. 31).

Selfless Seniors, as the title indicates, are often hard to identify because they don’t seek the spotlight. These high school seniors give of themselves so that others feel valued. They volunteer in community programs; they help out at their schools; they assist neighbors and family members. They aren’t resume-building; they simply and sincerely want to help.

The APS Education Foundation has partnered with noted Albuquerque photographer Frank Frost for a dozen years now to give a nod to students who make our community a better place to live. One student from each of our 13 comprehensive high schools is honored along with a representative from our magnet schools.

Of course, we know there are far more than 14 selfless students in our schools. The truth is that hundreds, if not thousands of our students help our community every day. Selfless Seniors is just a way of noting the great things ours students do for others.

Any member of the community may nominate a senior – so why not you?

Nominators are asked to detail the student’s service to their community, focusing on how they help others and what sets them apart. Providing testimonials helps create a strong nomination.  

Mark Hendricks, the Navy JROTC instructor at West Mesa High School, told the Foundation that he has nominated a student for the past couple of years because it is important to highlight the efforts to those who lead others to success. “This year, I will nominate a soft-spoken student who is probably the strongest, most giving student I’ve had in 22 years at APS. This student makes our program and our school better. He makes us all better,” Mark said.

If you know a senior like that, submit an application on their behalf. 

Or maybe you would prefer to nominate an educator you once worked with who deserves a spot in the APS Hall of Honor. There are so many long-time APS employees now retired or deceased who fit the bill.

Hall of Honor nominees are innovators, mentors, pioneers, risk-takers. They made a lasting impact on the district, changing the way we work, teach, and learn in APS. They don’t need to be classroom teachers; they just need to have contributed to the education of their peers and students during their career through mentorship and leadership. One requirement is that they must have worked with us for at least 15 years. If living, they must have been retired for at least three years.

Pam Kerkmans was among a group of teachers who nominated 2019 Hall of Honor Inductee Margaret Clark. “We all felt passionately enough about our years working with Margaret Clark to take the time necessary to nominate her. It was definitely a group effort,” Pam recalled. “We enjoyed reminiscing about that time in our careers and recalling the many lessons learned. We also reached out to other educators to share their reflections, and it was obvious to everyone that Margaret Clark was a worthy choice for the Hall of Honor.”

If you feel about a former colleague as Pam and the other Wherry teachers feel about Margaret Clark, isn’t it worth nominating them for this great honor?

Honestly, so many of our students should be recognized for their generosity, so many of our employees should be honored for their dedication and hard work. Selfless Seniors and the Hall of Honor are symbolic of the good that is APS.

Thanks for all you do.

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