Massanutten Regional Library proudly announces that the following students were selected as award winners for the 26th Annual Robert B. and Gladys Hopkins Strickler Honored Teachers Writing Contest. Students in grades K-12 were challenged to write an original essay 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 2023 winners and their teachers are:
Anish Aradhey – 1st place Harrisonburg High School Rosanna Johnson
Hassan Sani– runner up Turner Ashby High School Adrienne Whiteside
Maya Weniger – 1st place Redeemer Classical School Heather Dowdy
Olivia Spitzer – runner up Montevideo Middle School Summer Rosson
Alana Pilar Trouille-Zuniga – 1st place Spotswood Elementary Bryan Gardner
Molly Knighten – runner up Lacey Springs Elementary Sarina Smith
Ela Smith – 1st place Pleasant Valley Elementary Elizabeth Rhodes
Esmene Gelani – runner up Stone Spring Elementary Anne Kappers
Judging of essays was conducted by the Harrisonburg Kiwanis and winning students were recognized at an awards celebration on Thursday, April 27, 2023, at the Central Library in downtown Harrisonburg. Cash awards were given to the winning students and at the ceremony, Rosanna Johnson, an English teacher at Harrisonburg High School, was named the Honored Teacher of the Year, winning an award $1,000 her professional or personal use.
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.
MRL congratulates all student winners and the teachers they honored and extends its sincere appreciation to all students who entered the 2023 contest.