December 23, 2013 | LXXIII, No. 38

Jan Erickson for volunteer of the year

Letters to the Editor

I would like to nominate Jan (Bonamici) Erickson for volunteer of the year. I realize that because she is a teacher many see what she does as part of her job, but it goes far beyond that.

I have known Jan since 1985, as a volunteer in her classroom, then co-worker for many years.

I know she is a totally dedicated teacher, but she also spends untold amounts of her own money on extra materials, prizes etc. each and every year to make learning more interesting, meaningful and fun.

She buys foods and many other things that fit into the curriculum — one example: she doesn’t just bring Hawaii to the classroom, it becomes Hawaii, with stations that show or allow hands-on experience with volcanos, fish and wildlife, native dress, dances and music, and serves things like kiwi, pineapple and coconuts.

Jan often voluntarily takes special needs students as part of her class, out of love and caring.

You can ask any of the staff of Center elementary and past staff of Wright Elementary how many extra, unpaid hours Jan spends preparing her classroom with new stations, new décor and surprises. People who knew her car and now her truck can tell you that it is common to see her vehicle at the school until 5 or 6 p.m. while she is doing extras for her class.

She asks nothing in return except for her students to learn in an environment that is exciting, special, ever changing and fun.

Even through illness and recovery, and with a substitute teacher, her students knew that their real teacher was Mrs. E. They loved her (my granddaughter was in that class).

Jan has also led singalong, playing her guitar for many years.

Jan would want no recognition for all she does, but I believe that she deserves it after over 30 years ofgoing so far beyond what is expected of a teacher!

Carol Schoning

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