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Two Heartwarming Stories From This Year's Honor Teacher Awards Worth Reading

Authored By: Halee Niemi on 12/3/2018

A collage of pictures including three students sitting next to their new Google Home in the classroom, a teacher being handed a check by an Honor employee, and a classroom made poster that says "thank you Honor Credit Union" with small pictures of each student's headshot in the class.

Honor Credit Union’s 9th Annual Teacher Awards

Honor Credit Union receives hundreds of unique submissions each year as part of its annual Teacher Awards initiative, with teachers across the state of Michigan explaining how they could use $100 to improve their classrooms.

This year was no different as Honor received over 300 submissions from across its 24 local branch communities. There were 40 winners named after a difficult selection process, but the stories behind two of this year’s winners are especially heartwarming.

Click here to read the press release and view all 40 teacher award winners.

Hailey Baker, a special education teacher at Allegan’s L.E. White Middle School, had the vision to implement more technology into her classroom. But as many educators know, the need for additional supplies and technology in the classroom is often followed by the big question of where the money would come from.

Baker told Honor Credit Union in her Teacher Award submission that a Google Home device would provide significant support for her students with special needs. The students would be able to use it to ask educational questions, use it as a calculator, and set reminders. According to Baker, the opportunities for learning would be limitless with this technology.

In October, Honor’s Allegan branch manager, Jody VanSparrentak, personally delivered Hailey Baker and her classroom a check for $100 to purchase a Google Home. Shortly after the check was delivered, VanSparrentak received an email from Baker expressing her immense gratitude.

The day the Google Home arrived, Baker’s students immediately put it to work. They began interacting with it by asking it math, science, and spelling questions. Their Google Home even gave one special student more independence. Each day, she relied on her teacher to let her know when it was time to catch her special transportation home. Baker was able to set up a daily reminder on the Google Home to let her know when it’s time to leave. Because of the Google Home, she will no longer need to depend on her teacher and worry about missing her ride home. This small act of independence will make a big difference in her daily routine.

The second story comes from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Marquette-Alger RESA’s Nancy Isaacson teaches 19 students with unique talents and abilities. She told Honor Credit Union in her online submission that she wanted to teach her students about performing arts, as well as the appropriate social skills needed during live performances. These students have special challenges, such as autism, blindness, hearing, speech and cognitive impairments.

Instead of teaching her students only in the classroom, Isaacson decided to take a hands-on approach and arrange for her 19 students see Beauty and the Beast at Northern Michigan University’s Forest Roberts Theater. Fundraising efforts would provide for transportation, but she was still falling short. Because of Honor’s $100 grant, Isaacson’s class will now get to experience the live performance of the Beauty and the Beast during the winter semester. 

Isaacson told Honor’s Marquette branch manager, Adele Jacobson, her students wanted to show their gratitude for the opportunity, so they put together a creative “thank you” poster dedicated to Honor Credit Union with each of their smiling faces.

This is the ninth year of the Honor Teacher Awards initiative. In addition to the 40 winners, Honor Credit Union recognized eight submissions by providing alternative gifts that would fulfill the teacher’s requests. The alternative gifts included school supplies, art supplies, and various prizes for the students.

Honor Credit Union is committed to staying true to its roots in supporting local schools and teachers, and the Annual Teacher Awards is just one of the many ways Honor gives back throughout the year. To learn more about Honor's involvement in the schools, visit HonorCU.com/Teachers.




Halee Niemi
Public Relations Specialist
800-442-2800, ext. 9501


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If you are using a screen reader or other auxiliary aid and are having problems using this website, please call 800.442.2800 for assistance. All products and services available on this website are available at all Honor Credit Union full-service locations.