School staff recognized
Johnson receives Heart of Gold Award
The Manawa School District held its Staff Recognition and Appreciation Celebration on June 8.
A little over a year and a half ago, Molly Suehs, then the instrumental music teacher, proposed that the school board create an award to honor the memory of Tammy Kempf, a long-time special education paraprofessional in the district who had an impact on the students she served and the colleagues with whom she worked.
The Heart of Gold Award was born.
The idea to annually celebrate the district’s collective successes grew out of it.
This year’s Heart of Gold recipient is Brad Johnson.
A person nominated for the Heart of Gold Award exemplifies qualities that seemed to come naturally to Kempf, the staff member in whose honor the award was created.
A Heart of Gold recipient should be caring, patient, generous, considerate, compassionate, humble and demonstrate a strong work ethic.
Nomination essays are submitted to the Recognition Committee and then sent to the Kempf’s three adult children, who select of the recipient.
Following are excerpts from the nomination form:
“Brad Johnson cares about his students and his student athletes. He listens to his students when they talk, showing them that they are important and that what they have to say is important. He engages the students in the lesson he is teaching, providing them a way to relate to the subject matter.”
“He is a kind and generous teacher, and a strong leader giving his time and talent to the students and student athletes in the Manawa School District, to see them grow, learn and become the best person that they can be. He wants to see them all succeed in life.”
“Brad is generous to a fault with his time and talents. He gives of himself for his friends, family, students, co-workers, student athletes and anyone that asks. He is on numerous committees and volunteers to help wherever help is needed … If Brad notices an athlete isn’t eating because they didn’t bring any food, or they don’t have money for food, he will buy extra and then tell them he can’t eat it all. In that way, the athlete doesn’t feel embarrassed or pitied, thus allowing them to keep their dignity. I’ve watched him do that many times over the years.”
The Friend of Education Award was added this year.
It recognizes a person, family, business or organization within the Manawa School District for contributions of time, talents, resources or donations to the district.
This year’s recipient of the Friend of Education Award is the Manawa FFA Alumni.
The nomination essay included the following message:
“The Manawa FFA Alumni exists to provide support to our community, school and students in agricultural education. They support the FFA mission of developing premier leadership, personal growth and career success. Through their Bluegrass Bash and working at the Rodeo, they raise funds to provide opportunities to students.”
“Examples include providing classroom materials, donating to Project Backpack, and sponsoring students for leadership conferences. At the 2018 Manawa FFA Banquet, they awarded over $7,000 to graduating seniors in our district. In addition to the financial support, they provide resources of time and talent helping students with contest preparation and career exploration. They are also extremely active in our community and help out a myriad of organizations to help make Manawa a place I want to be.”
The program also recognized mentors and initial educators, educators making milestone years of service, educational advancements and grant awards.
A retirement was also announced.
After 34 years of service to the district as the elementary administrative assistant, Kris Wegener will retire later this summer.