WESTFIELD – Veterans of Foreign Wars District 7 Commander Troy Henke, state Rep. John C. Velis, Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski and Social Studies Supervisor Jason Taylor, along with other district administrators, gathered at Westfield Middle School Jan. 9 to surprise eighth grade social studies teacher Jennifer Johnson-Corwin with a VFW Smart/Maher Teacher of the Year award.
The VFW Smart/Maher Teacher of the Year award recognizes teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students. Johnson-Corwin took the lead on Student Voice during the last two elections, giving Westfield students the opportunity to learn about the electoral process and cast votes in local and state elections at each voting location in the city.
“Jenn was nominated for her tireless efforts to consistently provide students with civically engaging learning experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. She encourages all students to be informed, active participants in all levels of the community. Her love for teaching and connecting with students is commendable,” Taylor said.
Henke said Johnson-Corwin won the grade 6 to 8 middle school award at both Southwick Post 872 and the District 7 level, which represents 16 VFW posts in Western Massachusetts. On Thursday, he presented her with a check for $200, and an invitation to the district award ceremony at the Belchertown VFW Post 8428 in February.
“You instill citizenship in colleagues and students, and should be commended,” Henke said to her in front of her classroom filled with students, who applauded heartily.
Velis also presented Johnson-Corwin with a commendation from the House of Representatives, saying there is nothing more important than teaching civics to the next generation.
“I had the pleasure of observing Mrs. Johnson-Corwin’s classes back in 2008 when I was the Social Studies Supervisor for the district. Her effort with the ‘Youth Vote’ over the last two political elections in our city is just one recent example of her commitment to the education of our students. Mrs. Johnson-Corwin is very deserving of this recognition and we are fortunate to have her in our district,” said Czaporowski following the ceremony.