The Spaulding High School Jazz Band entertained students during a morning assembly. Dignitaries were also on hand for what was thought to be a kickoff for the new Smarter Balanced Assessment system.
Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe told the students teachers need to prepare them for a world forever changed by computers.
"Your teachers are working very hard to make sure that when you leave here you are prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that are ahead of you whether in careers or college," Holcombe said. "What we need to teach you has changed; you need to be able to do the things that computers can't do. You need to be able to read, you need to be able to argue persuasively in writing and orally so you can shape the communities you live in in powerful ways."
Then Dr. Jane Foley from the Milken Educator Awards, which recognizes outstanding teachers with a national award, told the audience they were in for a big surprise. One of their own teachers has been chosen for this year's award. This was such a top secret announcement, even the school's principal was not told in advance.
"The Milken award says in a very public way that greatness and education should be recognized, too, that outstanding educators are the backbone of every distinguished school," Foley said. "One teacher during his or her career has the power to positively influence thousands of young people's lives."
The award comes with a check for $25,000 that can be spent any way the winner wants.
Gov. Peter Shumlin had the honor of making the announcement.
"So without further ado, I gotta make sure this is facing the right way. Let's give it up for the most outstanding teacher that we could possibly dream of from the Milken Foundation-- Katie Sedore! Come up Katie!" Shumlin said.
Sedore graduated from St Michael's College and has been teaching English at Spaulding for nine years. She also runs an after-school homework club and works with special education students.
What will she do with the $25,000?
"Um, pay off my student loans. I have no idea," Sedore said.
Her students say Miss Sedore deserves the honor.
"She helps with a lot. She is always there. She tries her best all the time. There is nothing bad I can say about her," said Christen Ward, a freshman.
"Fantastic, she is a fantastic teacher. I really think she does a good job," said Cody Lanpher, a sophomore.
Senior Tanner Ormsby says Sedore has inspired him to want to become a writer.
"When she read 'The Lightening Thief' to us she did it in a way that was very enthusiastic and a real story and it just made me want to be able to write a book that people can read like that to a student or a kid in general. She definitely influenced me that way," Ormsby said.
Of all the surprises Friday morning, the biggest, other than the announcement of the award winner, was the fact that this is a family affair. You see, the principal of Spaulding High School is Katie's dad.
"I just tried to stifle tears and I was extremely proud of my whole staff. We have a great staff here at Spaulding High School," Thomas Sedore said. "But to see my daughter, I taught 18 years of English here at Spaulding. I didn't hire her, but she took my position over as an English teacher."
Katie's mother and sister are also teachers, and Katie says she looks forward to many, many more years at Spaulding High School.
The Milken Educator Awards were established in 1985 by the Milken Family Foundation. More than $64 million has been presented to nearly 2,600 top educators.
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