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Story, photos, and video by Andrew Cluley/AAPS District News
Students in Skyline High Schools Communication, Media and Public Policy program do many projects each year for lead teacher Pat Jenkins. Operation TOY however was a surprise project that Jenkins didn’t have knowledge of until yesterday. That’s when representatives of the Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Regional Chamber and LaFontaine Automotive Group announced she was Washtenaw County’s Distinguished Teacher of the Year.
Seniors in the CMPP program have been working on the nomination for this award for a year using the word TOY as the codename for Teacher of the Year. Ellie Gutmann spoke for the class in offering her congratulations to Jenkins. “I know personally you’re the person I come to for not just school advice, but advice for what I’m doing outside of school,” she said. “If we have college questions, which I know has been a big thing this year, we know you have advice, so just a huge, huge thank you from all of us.”
The recognition was a surprise to Jenkins who said it was a highlight in her life. She said her love and caring for students are like they are her own children and inspire her to continue teaching. “It’s just so thoughtful, and it just makes me want to get in here and do it again and again, year after year with more of you,” she said.
Bank of Ann Arbor branch manager David Norton served as the chair of the selection committee. He said the outpouring of support from Jenkins students made her a great choice to be honored. “It’s obvious how much these people love you, and it’s obvious how much you’ve done for these students,” Norton said.
The Distinguished Teacher of the Year award comes with a $1,000 cash prize from LaFontaine Automotive. Jenkins and all of the winners in the Teacher of the Year program will formally be presented with their awards at the Chamber’s April 18th Early Edition breakfast.