Scottville Optimist Club honors educators.

July 20, 2016

#MasonCountyNews #MasonCountyEducation #ScottvilleOptimist

scottville_optimists_educators_mount_vidak_shoup_thurston_skiba_howeBy Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

SCOTTVILLE — Three public school educators were honored Tuesday night by the Scottville Optimist Club during the family activity night at the Scottville Clown Band Shell.

Mason County Central High School counselor Joan Vidak, Mason County Eastern language arts teacher Dena Thurston and West Shore Educational Service District special education instructor Rebecca Skiba received the 2016 Scottville Optimist Educator of the Year award as part of the club’s Honoring Our Heroes series.

Vidak is a graduate of Mason County Central. Superintendent Jeff Mount, said she was selected by the school’s administrative team because of “her selfless and tireless approach to serving our students at the high school and beyond. At the same time the reporting requirements and accountability have increased for school districts, we had to downsize our staffing due to a steady drop in enrollment.   That means more work for fewer people. Joan Vidak has taken on many more responsibilities for the district.  She did this without even a moment of hesitation or show of frustration.   She has a caring and compassionate approach to meeting the social/emotional and scheduling needs of every student that walks into her office each day.

“She goes above and beyond our expectations  of her due to her innate desire to be sure every student at Mason County Central High school’s counseling needs are met,” Mount said.

Mason County Eastern Superintendent/Principal Paul Shoup described Dena Thurston as a teacher who goes above and beyond the call of duty. Like Vidak, Thurston is an alumnus of the school she now teaches at. “Dena left this area after completing her education and then made the choice to return and teach at her school,” Shoup said. “While she teaches English, her contributions to our school and its students go way beyond the classroom.”

West Shore ESD Superintendent Randy Howe described Rebecca Skiba as someone who “not only has the skills to help special needs students learn basic academic skills necessary to allow them to be productive and informed citizens with a high degree of independence, she goes above and beyond teaching duties and develops meaningful personal relationships with her students and their families.  It is this dedication to helping students with both educational and personal needs that makes her so effective in changing lives for the better. Students come to school with personal and family issues and Rebecca wraps her arms around the whole person and their family.  She spends countless hours outside of her work day doing whatever it takes to help her students and their families.  It is not a school day job for Rebecca…but rather a labor of love the allows her to connect as a mentor, an educator and a true friend with her students and their families.”

On Tuesday, July 26, the Optimist Club will honor local emergency responders during Safety Night, which begins at 6:30 p.m. The evening will include demonstrations from local police, fire and ambulance services along with live music at the band shell with Emma and Mallie. A free movie will also be shown at dusk: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”


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