All summer long Impact Thrift celebrated Teachers and School Staff who play a significant role in the lives of our children. Not only did we offer all teachers and school staff members a special shopping discount, we also encouraged customers to nominate a special teacher for making a positive impact on the lives of their students.
As the summer months hummed along, day after day, at each store, I was amazed by the sincere and heartfelt essays submitted by customers who have been inspired by the dedication, commitment, and personal sacrifices made by individual teachers. Our customers went above and beyond to take the time and energy to express, in great detail, all of the immeasurable ways that teachers from Montgomery, Bucks, Philadelphia County…and beyond…have changed the lives of their students for the better.
The decision was hard, but out of all of the nominations we received, here is our list of the 4 winners. We have included an excerpt from the winning essays to illustrate just how incredible these winners truly are!
Feasterville Store Winners:
Nominator: Sister Edward Quinn
Winning Teacher: Sister Joseph Helen Fullam, IHM (St. Matthews School), Kindergarten Teacher
Excerpt from Winning Essay: “For more than 50 years Sister Joseph has been teaching children at the Kindergarten level. Because of her kind and gentle manner with her students and excellent reputation for preparing her young students to become life-long learners, parents often make requests at registration time to have their child placed in Sister Joseph’s class. After a year in Sister Joseph’s classroom, the students have learned many social skills as well, and have gained many of the qualities which she herself exuberates—creativity, organization, and a willingness to be of service to others. You would think after 50 years in a classroom, one would be ready to retire, but not Sister Joseph. The only thing she has retired is that which is outdated in exchange for new and creative ways of teaching.”
Norristown Store Winners
Nominator: Maria Fletcher
Winning Teacher: Tara M. Brehm (Gwyn Nor Elementary School), Reading Support Instructor
Excerpt from Winning Essay: “To describe Tara Brehm in three words, I’d say she is professional, resourceful and energetic! One special story to share began when a boy in her third grade class was having a difficult time at home. This young student enjoyed listening to the Philadelphia Eagles and Merrill Reese on Sundays. Tara contacted Mr. Reese’s public relations department asking for a special request with the young boy in mind. In no time a visit from Mr. Reese was arranged for the entire class! For that day, the student in her class, could leave his worries behind and enjoy this exciting day. Her positive attitude and dedication to her profession make Tara an excellent choice as someone who makes an impact in the lives of her students, and her community, and she truly deserves this recognition!
Montgomeryville Store Winners
Nominator: Marlene Finnegan
Teacher: John Finnegan (James Rhoads- Elementary School)
Excerpt from Winning Essay: For 35 years Mr. Finnegan has been a dedicated teacher of Autistic children—a job he does with love! He goes beyond the normal classroom duties. Example, his class goes on bowling outings. Because he has wheelchair dependent students he, on his own, researched a set of bars you attach to the bowling alley, so wheelchair patients can bowl. He bought it with his own money, so none of his students would be left out.
Seven years ago when Mr. Finnegan was diagnosed with colon cancer his first concern was his family, then his students, never himself. Knowing that special needs children do not accept change, he took his 1 year chemo treatments in a time and manner, so that he still taught the children. He does it out of love for everyone. That is why I feel he deserves this recognition.
Hatboro Store Winners
Nominator: Regina Sweeney
Winning Teacher: Shannon Sweeney (Aspira Olney High School), Special Education Teacher/English Teacher
Excerpt from Winning Essay: “Shannon is compassionate, creative and a supporter of the “underdogs”. Although her job is challenging, she preserves to help make a difference in the lives of the students she works with. Last year at the “End of the School Year Celebration”, I witness first-hand the impact she is having on her students. One student who admitted she doesn’t love school, clearly loves Shannon, as she looked at her with complete admiration and joy…I only wish I had a camera!”
Click here to read more about this promotion.
~ Tamika Miller