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MRL Announces Student Winners of the 25th Annual Honored Teachers Essay Contest

Reception to honor winners and their teachers held April 7, 2022

Massanutten Regional Library proudly announces that the following students have been selected as award winners for the 25th Annual Robert B. and Gladys Hopkins Strickler Honored Teachers Writing Contest. Students in grades K-12 were challenged to write an original essay or poem about a current or former teacher who has had an impact on their life. The contest was open to public, private, and homeschooled students who attend school in MRL’s service area of Harrisonburg, Rockingham County and Page County. The 2022 winners and their teachers are:

High School:

  • 1st place: Herschel Hoffeditz | Broadway High School | Teacher: Becky Harris
  • Runner up: Sophia Yoder | Harrisonburg High School | Teacher: Myron Blosser

Middle School:

  • 1st place: Olivia Spitzer | Montevideo Middle School | Teacher: Sarah Mrosko     
  • Runner up: Sophie Kauffman | Skyline Middle School | Teacher: Holly Bess Kincaid

Grades 3-5

  • 1st place: Harmony Housden | Luray Elementary | Teacher: Ashley Ellis
  • Runner up: Leila Thyson | Mountain View Elementary | Teacher: Mandy O’Neill

Grades K-2

  • 1st place: Lilly Hayes Jackson | Stone Spring Elementary | Teacher: Haylee Watson
  • Runner up: Leighton Branson | Fulks Run Elementary | Teacher: Chris Grim

Judging was performed by the Harrisonburg Kiwanis on March 21, 2022. The Kiwanis worked intently as over 200 essays were received.

Winning essayists and their honored teachers will be recognized at an awards celebration on Thursday, April 7 at 7PM at the Central Library in downtown Harrisonburg. Cash awards will be given to the winning students and one teacher among the winning essays will be announced as the Honored Teacher of the Year, winning an additional $1,000 for his/her professional use. The Honored Teacher of the Year is kept secret and revealed at the awards celebration. Media is invited and encouraged to attend as this is always a heartwarming event which emphasizes the important role of teachers and the impact they make on their students.

Since its founding in 1997, the Honored Teachers Essay Contest has received over 5,000 student entries—each heartfelt and each celebrating phenomenal local teachers who make incredible differences in the lives of areas students. The contest was made possible through the generosity of Robert H. “Twig” Strickler and his wife Lorraine, who set up a memorial endowment through to honor Twig’s parents, Robert B. and Gladys Hopkins Strickler, who were both inspiring teachers. To date, the contest has awarded a total of more than $10,000 to teachers to enhance their work, as well as thousands of dollars in prizes to student writers. Though Mr. Strickler passed away in 2019 at the age of 90, the program continues to honor his and Lorraine’s commitment to highlighting the importance of excellent teaching in the Valley.

Please join us in congratulating these talented student writers and the teachers who inspire them.

Inform. Inspire. Connect.

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