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Examiner
  • Teachers win their own gold medals

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  • bill.althaus@examiner.net
    Comcast partnered with three local high schools to recognize excellence in teaching along with excellence in sport - the 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Thursday night at the Independence Events Center. William Chrisman's Kim Hayes, Truman's Angie Zarrillo and Van Horn's Laura Solomon won $500 each to spend as they wish, and each of the Independence high schools received a $2,500 grant. “We wanted to honor gold medal teachers who also had golden hearts,” Comcast's Jayne Siemen said at the event that featured an appearance by 1980 United States miracle hockey team member Ken Morrow, free skating on the main ice at the Events Center and refreshments. “We believe it is important to give back to our community,” Comcast vice president of field operations David Williams said. “And when you combine that with an event like we had tonight, it's just provides a great atmosphere to honor some wonderful teachers.” Students and community members nominated teachers from the Independence high schools who are “inspirational, motivational, hard-working, persistent and dedicated.” Voters then went to a website to select the three winners. “To be one of the three teachers nominated was just amazing,” said Solomon, a business teacher and student council sponsor at Van Horn. “My kids came up to me and said, 'Miss Solomon, we're going to win this for you,' and they did. “I know the grant goes into a school fund and I am going to use my $500 to buy yearbooks for our homeless students and help make it possible for them to go to prom.” That comment brought a tear to the eye of Hayes, a 24-year veteran of the Chrisman theater department. “I have no idea what I am going to do with my $500, but that is a wonderful idea - I'm so glad I heard you talking about that,” Hayes said. “We have so many wonderful and dedicated teachers at William Chrisman. This is such an honor.” Zarrillo was not able to attend the event because she is in Chicago with a group of student council representatives from Truman High School. “Angie is very deserving of this honor,” said first-year Truman principal David Gordon, who accepted both checks on behalf of Zarrillo. “She certainly would have been here had she not been at a national conference in Chicago with members of Truman's student council. “We are proud of her for winning this honor.” Teachers from Raytown and Raytown South high schools were also honored. Paula Dampier from Raytown South and Marlee Stempleton from Raytown were the honorees.

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