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12/13/2012 3:00:00 PM
Peggy Eckerty wins state honor as outstanding history teacher for the year

Peggy Eckerty, fourth grade teacher at Switzerland County Elementary School, has been honored by the Indiana Historical Society.

She has been awarded the prestigious "Caleb Mills Indiana History Teacher of the Year" award.

On Monday, December 3rd, Peggy Eckerty traveled to Indianapolis to the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center for the presentation. She was accompanied by Switzerland County High School English teacher Janet Hendricks. They attended the Indiana Historical Society's Annual Founder's Day Dinner and Awards program, which celebrated 182 years of Indiana History.

Serving on the Indiana Historical Society, one of Janet Hendricks's jobs is to recognize groups and individuals who support and promote local history. In that capacity, she nominated Peggy Eckerty for the award.

The Caleb Mills Indiana History Teacher of the Year Award, named in honor of Caleb Mills, the father of Indiana's common schools, is made annually to a teacher of grades four through 12 currently teaching American or Indiana history and recognized by his or her colleagues as making a significant contribution to the understanding of these two field by his or her students.

In her letter of recommendation, Janet Hendricks commended her fellow teacher. Here are some excerpts:

"Peggy Eckerty, known as Miss Eckerty and 'Miss Kitty' to students and parents in Switzerland County, is not your 'run-of the-mill' Indiana History teacher in any way, shape, or form. This spunky fourth grade teacher works at Switzerland County Elementary School near East Enterprise, Indiana, and has been teaching for 34 years. If you ask her students about her classes, they will tell you she is strict, fair, fun, and makes Indiana History come to life. Her fourth grade students don't just learn about Indiana Statehood from their textbooks...

"...She became 'Little Hoosier' sponsor for the fourth grade at Switzerland Elementary and began working with Indiana Junior Historical Society Coordinator Becca Loofbourrow, who visits her classroom and does programs for the Little Hoosiers. Because many of her students are children from poverty, I found that Miss Eckerty often provided funds for her students' membership....

"...Miss Eckerty plans Pioneer Day very early in the school year, usually after she finished with the school's Veterans' Day program on November 11th. She teaches by being an example herself. Miss Eckerty tries very hard to have all her students think and write about Veterans' Day and tries to tie the experience in with student's families and with those veterans who are from the area. With the help of our very active American Legion and her principal, Mike Jones, she has obtained some wonderful speakers who have shared their insights and experiences with the school and its visitors....

"...Besides Pioneer Day, Storyfest, visits from Becca Loofbourrow, and Statehood Day, Miss Eckerty plans lessons using critical thinking and writing activities as well as other hands-on activities, fieldtrips, and guest speakers. Her students attend Lore of the Laughery, and observe Famous Hoosiers Day with visits from Helen Parks who portrays everyone from Rachel Pickett, wife of Heathcoate; Edward Eggleston, and James Whitcomb Riley. When possible, Kevin Stonerock has been as guest speaker. In 1991, 'Always A River' was a corporation-wide cross-curricular project for our schools. The culmination of the year long project was the highly-anticipated arrival of the Always A River barge in Vevay for its 4-day celebration in our historic river town. Besides the many activities in which her children participated, Miss Eckerty and a few of the other teachers created living history characters from local and regional river history....

"...As a member of the Switzerland County Historical Society, she participates in organizational activities and fundraising as well as volunteering for the organization during the Swiss Wine Festival. She is very active in Markland Baptist Church, a much-sought-after vocalist in the church and community, and a member of the Vevay Music Club, where she participates in benefits for the Hoosier Theater and scholarship fundraising events. A cancer survivor, she works tirelessly for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society, obtaining donations for 'Relay for Life' and participating in the Survivors' Walk....

"...The average person cannot hope to keep up with her pace as she makes her lists, plans her attack, and seeks to educate our youth and community, yet if you ask her or compliment her, she denies that she does anything special."

*

As one of the members of the selection committee said to a member of Miss Eckerty's supporters at the dinner, "She blew all the rest of the nominees away!"

Congratulations on this outstanding achievement.





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