WDC teacher advances to state competition for VFW Teacher of the Year award
The Wadena VFW Post #3922 honored Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary teacher Junelle Jackson with its “Citizenship Education Teacher of the Year” award on Nov. 11.
Her local award nomination was then forwarded to the district level and she recently learned she’d won. Jackson’s nomination will now advance to the state competition in the K-5 category, where she will compete for a chance to win $1,000 for professional development and $1,000 for WDC Elementary, plus an all-expense-paid trip to VFW’s national convention in July in Pittsburgh.
Wadena VFW Citizen Education Teacher award chairman Jim White presented Jackson with the local award at Wadena-Deer Creek High School’s annual Veterans Day program Nov. 11. The award recognized Jackson for her efforts in educating students about the importance of citizenship and patriotism in the classroom.
WDC K-4 Principal Louis Rutten nominated Jackson for the award. In his nomination, Rutten praised Jackson for stressing the importance of civic pride and patriotism to her students throughout her 31 years as a teacher at WDC Elementary.
“She always reminds her students how important it is to serve others and how that may mean you sacrifice some things for the greater good,” Rutten said.
Jackson engages her students by corresponding and sending care packages to soldiers, many of whom are Wadena-Deer Creek graduates. Recently, her students wrote Thanksgiving letters to Jamie (Quinn) Richter who is stationed in Afghanistan with the U.S. Air Force. Jamie was also a second-grade student of Mrs. Jackson’s.
“The students get so excited when we send letters. It’s a fun way to teach patriotism to my students.” Jackson said, adding, “If we can make [the troops] smile with our letters, that to me is worth it.”
Jamie Richter is not the first soldier her class has written to; there have been several others over the years. Participation in the project builds students’ writing skills and sense of responsibility, Jackson said. They also learn about geography, history and, most importantly, gratitude toward the troops for serving our country and protecting our freedom.
Since 1983, Jackson has taught at WDC Elementary. She grew up in Wadena, graduating from Wadena High School in 1979. She received her education degree from Moorhead State University. She and her husband, Jay, have two grown children, Aaron and Avery.
Jackson said she is honored and humbled to receive the VFW Citizenship Education award from the local Wadena VFW and winning at the district level.
“I’m very humbled to receive this award. Teaching is what I do every day and I enjoy educating my students about the importance of patriotism,” said Jackson, adding, “Thank you to the Wadena VFW for this wonderful award.”
Jackson will be attending the VFW 6th District Meeting on Dec. 6 at the VFW Post 3839 in Jenkins, Minn., where she will introduced to District members and presented with the District award.