HP Centennial Gives $5,000 To 48 Student-Nominated Teachers

Organization updates 9-year tradition with in-class award announcements

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Photo by Matteo Winandy

To reward superb teaching, junior HP centennial committee member, Ben Salter, gives AP U.S. History teacher Temple Truax a check for $5,000. Throughout the school 48 teachers were chosen to receive the prize money. “I think it shows teachers that we care about them,” Salter said. “It promotes teachers growing and making connections with students.”

HP Centennial awarded $5,000 to 48 teachers chosen by students on Feb. 18 during second period.

The HP Centennial foundation organizes the annual HP Centennial dance, including the HP 108 dance that took place November 2021. A group of seniors created the dance 9 years ago as a one-time event, but their success prompted the group to make the dance annual.

“The whole premise of starting this was to be a way for a Scot to give back to their school,” HP Centennial president Vanessa Sloan said.

In previous years, HP Centennial was only able to give money to one teacher for every $250,000 raised, but in 2019, the organization split from the school, loosening its restrictions and allowing the distribution of the proceeds among a larger group of teachers.

Through this foundation, a committee of about 250 students were able to nominate their favorite teachers for a chance to give them $5,000. HP Centennial’s board of directors, composed of its founders, finalized the selected teachers and then informed principal Jeremy Gilbert, who nominated three teachers he felt had stood out. 

Once the donation had been approved by the district board of trustees, HP Centennial did something new by delivering news of the awards during school hours in an attempt to generate excitement for students and staff. Junior Riley Herrod, the co-chair for the organization, thought the change was worthwhile.

“It was such a big success this year just because of the reaction,” Herrod said. “Seeing it, it’s better than getting just an email. The physical thing is so much better and pure.”

 The award was a welcome surprise to world geography teacher Jedidiah Eby, who received it during second period.

“The $5,000 is great,” Eby said. “But the four bullet points saying that you are someone that inspires a level of learning, that your background is knowledgeable, that you’re skillful and that you’re a dedicated teacher who’s taking an active role and making students feel welcome, that is better than the $5,000.”

HP Centennial plans to continue the tradition this way in the future.

“As we continue to do this year after year, I would hope that it would affect a lot of [teachers and students] for the better.” Sloan said.