Congratulations to our Educator of the Year and Support Staff Person of the Year!
As the 2018-2019 school year ends at Whittier Tech, we are thrilled to announce our Support Person of the Year Elaine Kevgas, and our Educator of the Year Lynn Messman, who retired today.
Here are the presentation speeches given in their honor this afternoon:
This year’s recipient of the WREA Educator of the Year Award is described by Superintendent Lynch as “One of the hardest working educators that I have ever seen in my career, with the kindest temperament that kids really respond to. A quiet leader within her department, someone with a true passion for teaching and learning.” Her poise, professionalism and sense of style have made her an icon here in the seven years from when she was hired. There is a contingency of teachers who wistfully say “I want to be her when I grow up.”
If teaching is a craft; this year’s educator is a master craftsmen. She is mindful of every detail in fostering confident and successful students who are ready for bright futures. According to junior Heather Twombly, “She’s Ms. Messman - she helped me a lot, I had one of the highest long comp scores of the class, and I attribute it all to the skills and confidence she gave me to find my voice as a student and writer.” For the past two years she has built her classroom into a home for students, embracing flexible seating and a decor that inspired others in the district to follow suit. She has challenged the English department again and again, in the design of products, assessments, lessons and technology.
English Cluster Chair Katie Nichols said, “From the moment she entered Whittier, she emanated confidence and skill in her trade. She had an unwavering growth mindset of self and student improvement. I am so glad she chose Whittier.” There is no question that she has made an impact on our community and her legacy will live on as she pursues her next great adventure. Lynn Messman, thank you for your dedication to the Whittier School District and the people in it.
This year’s recipient of the WREA Support Person of the Year Award is above all else someone who embodies a giving spirit. She gives endlessly and to all - students and staff. We all have a story where she is a central figure; a note she left after subbing a class, a craft project she needed help with, an object she brought in especially for you or more often than not these days a raffle ticket you bought. Principal Laganas describes her as “a phenomenal, intelligent woman that is just a part of our family, one of the first people in and one of the last to leave every day. She reaches out to everyone tirelessly and will do anything for anyone. On a personal note, her spanakopita “spinach pie” and tiropita are second to none.”
In the past few years, her home here has been moved to the library where she has made it her mission to celebrate students and staff in a space that is meant to be a lively hub of activity. Finally, there’s a ray of sunshine in the library. (don’t worry Mr. Porcelli gave us that line ;)) Her sunshine spreads into every nook and cranny of our school, even in the kitchen during night school this year. Superintendent Lynch maintains, “I don’t know how to put it into words, she makes me feel idle because she’s always working for the kids and the staff at Whittier. As my neighbor I’m able to keep my eye on her and make sure she’s home at a decent hour.”
Elaine Kevgas, Whittier’s Yia Yia, thank you for being you - we love you as much as you love us. Congratulations!