Cox awards Virginia teachers cash for the classroom, names them ‘Heroes of Distance Learning’

10 On Your Side

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Our appreciation for educators spans well beyond one week.

Teachers are the compassionate innovators that we’ve all needed to get to where we are today. And right now, they can use all the assistance they can get.

After a WAVY News’ story aired two weeks ago about a parade that local elementary teachers and staff created for their students, Cox Communications reached out to see if we could help get the word out about their contest to acknowledge educators going above and beyond right now.

Out of more than 223 nominations for 156 teachers, 11 “Heroes of Distance Learning” who have taken a lemon of a year and made lemonade are getting something to make it a little sweeter.

“I got an email that one of my band parents nominated me and I had won $1,000 for a virtual classroom makeover,” said Olivia Lawson, band director at James Blair Middle School in Williamsburg. “So that was pretty much the coolest email ever to open. One thing I plan to spend some of this money on is a program that will allow students to send me their part in a concert song then layer all of them together as if we were in a band classroom.”

Lawson is used to collaboration, not isolation. But we’re glad to know the new funds for a virtual classroom makeover will lead to a new creation.

Keisha Yearby, who teaches second grade at B. M. Williams Primary in Chesapeake, says she’ll be buying more books and she’s paying off a new computer. It’s already helping her reach more kids with her daily live Facebook reading sessions at 7:30 p.m.

“There’s a quote I like by Jim Rohn that says turn your frustration into fascination,” said Yearby. “This has been frustrating for us all. The last thing I said to my students face-to-face was I will see you on Tuesday. But I’m fascinated by the fact that we do have the means and the technology to still be able to see our students and connect with them.”

And because there were so many incredibly deserving teachers, Cox also awarded five additional educators with $200 each.

  • Cat Collett, Lynbrook Elementary, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Cheryl Pettijohn, Stafford High School, Stafford County Public Schools
  • Sydney Spangler, Cave Spring Elementary, Roanoke City Public Schools
  • Keisha Whitfield, Park Place Elementary, Norfolk Public Schools
  • Michelle Young, Red Mill Elementary, Virginia Beach Public Schools

Other $1,000 recipients include:

  • Jennifer Wagner, 4th Grade, Oak Hill Elementary, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Rachel Terlop, 1st to 3rd Grade, Pine Spring Elementary, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Estavia Rowe, K-6 music teacher, Colin Powell Elementary, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Annamarie McKevitt, Kindergarten, Braddock Elementary, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Susan Jordan, 4th Grade, Crystal Spring Elementary, Roanoke City Public Schools
  • Ashley Ireland, 5th Grade, Annandale Terrace Elementary, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Emily Eichel, K-6 Multiple Disabilities Teacher, Island Creek Elementary, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • • Brad and Sarah Baxendell, Brad: Special Education, Sarah: Spanish, Academy for Discovery at Lakewood, Norfolk Public Schools

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