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Springfield Elementary teacher awarded for teaching patriotism

A local teacher has been awarded for teaching patriotism to her students by the Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Carol Kelley, a sixth-grade teacher at Springfield Township Elementary School, was recognized on Wednesday during the school's student-award program.

Kelley was selected as the state teacher winner for the middle-school level of the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award.

The award recognizes exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism. Each year, a classroom elementary, junior high and high school teacher whose curriculum focuses on citizenship education topics — for at least half of the school day in a classroom environment — can be nominated.

Kelley, who has been a teacher for the school district since 2001, has worked with her students on a Loyalty Day poster contest, asked veterans to come into the classroom to tell students stories that are not found in history books, actively participates in the school's Veterans Day program every year, has her students write essays in support of veterans and enters them in the Patriot Pen Essay Contest.

“The many, many lessons she puts forth are well above the everyday classroom teaching,” said James Miller, the VFW State Youth and Scout Activity chairman. “Thank God for teachers like her who take that extra step to bring the true meaning of our country's history to life.”

Miller said Kelley has a warm style with her students while she feels the closeness of history to everyday life.

Kelley is no stranger to accolades. She's a Who's Who Among American Teachers, a recipient of the Keystone Achievement Award For Outstanding Teacher and a recipient of the Youth Essay Award Citation from the VFW; however, she was particularly proud of her latest achievement.

“This is one of the greatest accomplishments in my 13 years of teaching,” Kelley said. “It's an honor.”

Kelley said her future plans include continuing to teach and instill the values of history and patriotism into her students.

“She not only encourages students to become positive, involved citizens, but also demonstrates these qualities throughout her daily life,” said Springfield Township Elementary School Principal Ronald Keefer. “Mrs. Kelley has worked hard to help develop knowledgeable and positive patriots within our school. She does this not because it's her job, but because she's a patriot.”

Along with award plaques for her and the school, Kelley will also receive a $1,000 award for professional development expenses, a $1,000 award for her school, two award plaques and an all-expense-paid trip to attend the VFW conference to receive her award.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or mhofmann@tribweb.com.

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