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Cathy Taylor
Cathy Taylor
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Simon and Renshaw Recognized at Kiwanis

Kiwanis on Thursday handed out their Educator of the Year and Support Staff of the Year to two very deserving individuals.

Before that, however, the Carmi-White County School districts celebrated the retirement of their esteemed staff members who have left a mark on the institution: Mrs. Black, Mr. Courty, Mrs. Franics, Mrs. Sykes, Kim Cruz, and Mrs. Blazier. Each of them has demonstrated a profound dedication not only to their roles but also to the students who have crossed their paths. Their tireless efforts have shaped the futures of countless children in Carmi, and their legacy will endure.

The celebrated Support Staff of the Year award was given to Mark Renshaw. Bits of nomination letters were shared calling Renshaw, “hard-working, excellent rapport with each and every student and staff member, kind, compassionate, and always willing to help where needed.” Even a story that made the whole room laugh with Renshaw, “Last year the students and staff even made sure he had the most pennies in his bucket just to see him get a pie in his face.”

“Guys, I don’t talk. I really don’t, but this is beyond belief. I’d like to thank everyone for this: my family, teachers, and all the educators I’ve worked with throughout my career. They have been fantastic, they’ve all been dedicated, and this has been very, very bittersweet for me. I’ll miss the students and all the staff. I don’t know what to say, thank you.”

The Educator of the Year was given to Mrs. Stacy Simon, who has not only been a confidant to her students but also to the many kids in the ARROWS program. “She is the epitome of what a great teacher or educator should be. She is not only an outstanding teacher in the classroom, but she goes above and beyond outside the classroom as well. She pours her heart and soul into serving her students.” Another letter stated, “Her practices are skilled and trustworthy. However, it is her heart that makes her most beloved. She is for every student, no matter their academic success; she has the ability to see past the surface and into the depths of a child.”

Mrs. Simon was caught off guard, thanks to Mr. Haley, who told her she was coming to Kiwanis to discuss the ARROWS program. A humble Simon shared some insights, 

“You have good teachers, you have amazing teachers, and behind all of the teachers are our school board, and our administrators, and our co-workers. But really, the true rock stars are our kids. After Kurt and I had our fire at our house, I took a few days off, and I came back to school, and I had sticky notes all over my classroom talking about how much the kids loved me, and we’re here for you, and hugs, and bracelets, and clothes. They gave me pink blouses because they knew my favorite color was pink. And I just felt so seen and so loved. And that’s how I feel working for this district.”

Simon continued by sharing a story about a girl at church who presented her with a Mother’s Day envelope and thanked Mrs. Simon for always being there for her.

 “I just thought, you know what, that’s all any of us really want, is to be seen and loved. And if we can, as educators, see our kids, you know, beyond behaviors, beyond their home life is like, and see their heart. And just love them right where they’re at. It makes all the difference in the world.”

Simon ended by thanking her co-workers, friends, family, Kiwanis, the community of Carmi, and her husband Kurt for always being there for her.

 

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