Trucker Buddies, Al and Kym Hemerson, were so pleased with their teacher, Barbara Swalina, who teaches first grade at North Glendale Elementary School, in Kirkwood, Mo., that they nominated her as an Trucker Buddy Outstanding Teacher. Swalina has been in the Trucker Buddy organization for the past 12 years and has been matched with the Hemersons for over six years.
Al and Kym discuss why they feel she deserves the award. "Mrs. Swalina and her husband have welcomed us as guests into their home as well as their lives. They have assisted us in getting special treats for the students over the past years. We are able to communicate with the students not only through postcards and letters, but also through telephone calls," they said. "Mrs. Swalina has allowed us great access and interaction with the class. While maintaining and instructing within the parameters of her curriculum, she has gone above and beyond the set outlined goal."
Swalina has been educating students for the past 21 years teaching curriculum for first grade through fourth grade. "We have witnessed the inspiration she has bestowed in her students, in her writing curriculum, best exemplified in one of her former students publishing a paperback book titledThrice, by Madaline Wolfe. Mrs. Swalina was recognized in the author's acknowledgement in the book. Having moved her career from fourth to first grade teaching, we have been able to witness the interaction with previous students before and after school. She has taught special needs students and gifted students alike."
According to the Hemersons, during the school year Swalina has contributed her time and efforts for accessing the program "Coats for Kids"; thus allowing her the opportunity to help purchase winter gear for some of the less fortunate students. Donating her time, Swalina coopperates with the parent or parents to find a suitable coat for the children.
Many of the incoming students and their parents request participation in Swalina's class. They not only want the great learning skills that Swalina instills in them, but they are also very excited about the Trucker Buddy organization that she participates in.
The Hemersons offer this example of how Swalina works to keep students involved in the Trucker Buddy program. The parents of one of the students in class at the beginning of the 2011 school year had a job requiring that they move to Indiana. Throughout that school year, the student was included in the postcards and activities involving Trucker Buddy. In anticipation of one of the Hemersons' visits, Swalina notified the student's parents. The family was scheduled to be in the St. Louis area at that time, and was able to bring their daughter to the school so that she was included in the day's activities. Along with them, many of the student's parents attended the activities of the day.
"We sincerely and respectively submit this nomination for the Trucker Buddy Outstanding Teacher Award, on behalf of her students and former students and our participation as Trucker Buddy with Mrs. Swalina, for a job well done," said Al and Kym.
Trucker Buddy International, an independent, non-profit 501(c) (3) organization, often called the number one trucking image campaign in North America, has helped educate schoolchildren and introduce educators to the trucking industry. This gives them the world through the eyes of a professional truck driver. The Trucker Buddy program helps to educate and mentor schoolchildren via a pen pal relationship between professional truck drivers and children in grades K-8 as supervised by their teachers.
After an extensive screening process, the professional truck drivers are matched with a class and as directed by the teacher, drivers share news about their travels with their class. Students write letters and send pictures to their drivers. Students' skills in reading, writing, geography, mathematics, social studies, and history are enhanced and learning is made fun.
Since 1992, Trucker Buddy International has helped educate over a million schoolchildren and introduced them to caring, compassionate men and women, professional truck drivers. The on-going success of the program is due to driver volunteers, participating teachers and the contributions of sponsors. There is no cost to the drivers or teachers to participate in the program. The Trucker Buddy program is funded entirely through sponsorships and donations.
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