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News from 2023-2024

Posted: November 16, 2023

VFW Honors Hodgin Elementary Librarian With State Award

Recognition bestowed on educators who are innovative and passionate and who encourage good citizenship.

Nichole Peters receives the VFW award.

Nichole Peters receives the VFW award.

Nichole Peters wears many hats.

She’s a teacher, librarian, paramedic, firefighter, and an animal advocate. And on Tuesday, the Hodgin Elementary School staffer became the recipient of the VFW’s Citizenship Education Teacher award.

Representatives from the organization presented the statewide award to Peters as her parents and colleagues cheered her on.

“I am very honored and humbled,” she said. “I don't ever expect to be recognized for what I do. I just want to make our students' lives a little brighter.”

The Veterans of Foreign Wars award is given to educators who are innovative and passionate about their work and able to tap into outside resources to enhance their lessons. They must also encourage or model good citizenship and community involvement.

Peters taught fourth grade for 10 years before moving into the librarian position. She goes out of her way to engage students. During State Fair week, for example, she encourages her older students to explore how the principles of physics apply to carnival rides. Younger students explore the agricultural aspects of the fair, reading about animals and crops.

During the pandemic, she teamed up with the school’s PE teacher to purchase and distribute jump ropes and materials describing the different techniques and tricks that could be done with them to encourage students to get exercise.

Peters is also incredibly active in the community.

She is a paramedic and firefighter and has volunteered with rural fire departments on weekends and school breaks for more than 20 years. Peters is also a member of the New Mexico Emergency Response Team and is certified to teach EMT and CPR classes. Each year she leads CPR classes at her school and other schools for staff and fifth grade students.

She is also an advocate for animals, participating in several fundraisers throughout the year supporting animal welfare. Peters has rescued many animals and currently has four rescued dogs and an abandoned cat.

As for her work at Hodgin Elementary, Peters always goes the extra mile to make lessons interesting and to provide students with as many enriching activities as possible. That includes tapping into resources to provide them with robots, materials for Makers Space and STEAM projects, and even a book vending machine that accepts tokens students earn throughout the year.