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The award, which was given as part of Wal-Mart's 12th annual Teacher of the Year Program, comes in honor of National Teacher's Day on May 8. Keesee received a $1,000 grant for New Madrid Elementary, a $100 gift card to buy supplies for her classroom, a Teacher of the Year polo shirt and a personalized certificate.
Over the next few days, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club associates across the country are announcing the names of local teacher winners. One teacher is selected as a "local winner" by each Wal-Mart store, Sam's Club, Neighborhood Market store and Wal-Mart Distribution center. Teacher were nominated by members of the community during February and selected by a committee of store or club associates. Nationwide more than 4,000 teachers are being honored by Wal-Mart's Teacher of the Year program.
"The teachers in our area are superb," said Sikeston Wal-Mart Manager James Miller. "The selection process was not an easy one but we are happy to recognized Carolyn Keesee and share this great news with our community."
Keesee, who has been an art teacher in New Madrid for 36 years, gives not only of her time, but also her own resources for projects for all the students in the school, according to her nominator. "The hallways of the school are lined with the masterpieces of all her little artists. You can see the pride, dedication and loyalty to her profession in the artwork of her students. She truly is the Teacher of the Year," the news release noted.
The Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year recognition is part of a three-tiered program. All local winning teachers have the opportunity to apply for state Teacher of the Year honors to receive a $10,000 grant for their schools. Each state winner is automatically entered in the national competition. The one national winner, who is recognized in the fall, will receive an additional $25,000 education grant for a total of $36,0000 to his or her school.
Since the Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year program began in 1995, Wal-Mart has honored more than 25,000 teachers nationwide and donated more than $18.5 million to local schools.
The company is one of the largest corporate supporters of teachers and education - last year alone giving more than $57 million in support of educational initiatives.