Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. A local medical practice knew they couldn’t provide raises to every Oklahoma teacher, but they decided to do their bit to help. Pediatric ENT of Oklahoma has given a $1,000 Teacher Appreciation Award to three teachers.

More than 100 teachers were nominated by parents, students and co-workers. Some 40,000 online voters had the opportunity to have the final say after the 15 finalists were selected. The award-winning Oklahoma teachers are:

Amber Wright, 3rd grade Teacher, Blanchard Intermediate, Blanchard OK. Maria Ward Mangold, Band Teacher, Crooked Oak Middle and High Schools Lacey Bates, 2nd grade, Stone Ridge Elementary, Piedmont School District

“My kids were following the voting, and we were using it as math problems just for fun,” said Amber Wright, a third-grade teacher at Blanchard Intermediate. “So we all saw the announcement at the same time. They were cheering, and I was crying.”

“We walked to the Capitol from Piedmont the same day I found out that a parent had nominated me,” said Lacey Bates, a second grade teacher at Stone Ridge Elementary. “Later, when I won, my classroom kids were screaming and cheering. I was so moved that so many people voted from my school, the Piedmont community, and even the schools where I previously worked.”

“A student nominated me, much to my surprise,” said Maria Ward Mangold, the band teacher for Crooked Oak High School. “ It was humbling to make it to the Final 15 much less to win the award. I don’t do the job for the recognition. I love the kids as if they were my own.”

Pediatric ENT of Oklahoma gave the award to the teachers with no strings attached, but the teachers are already talking about how they will use it to equip their classrooms for the new school year.

“The grant couldn’t have come at a better time,” Lacey said. “And I appreciate the way Pediatric ENT showed their support when our school budgets keep getting cut.”

Lacey asked her students what they wanted. “My class made a shopping list, mostly, for the benefit of next year’s class,” she said. “Since the award was given to me personally, it allowed me flexibility to get what I needed without having to ask permission or spend my own money.”

“When I got the award, I knew I would turn around and use it in my classroom,” said Mangold, who teaches middle and high school band. “I am very proud of the fact that our school has funding to allow everyone to participate even if they can’t afford an instrument. However, we have to fundraise constantly to cover band contests, related trips, classroom supplies and new sheet music. Even so, I supplement that with my own money. Now I have the award to help me do that.”

“A single mom on an Oklahoma teacher’s salary isn’t good, especially since I feel led to spend a lot of money on my classroom,” Wright said. “Getting this award, right on top of the outpouring of love and support from parents during the walkout, was such a blessing.”

“This award isn’t about politics or the big issues surrounding the government’s budget,” Dr. Robert Glade of Pediatric ENT said. “It’s about honoring teachers who deserve respect and admiration for the important work they do every day.”

“It’s like I tell parents at the beginning of the school year,” Wright added. “I want to be the teacher I would want my own kids to have.”

To learn more, please call or text Dr. Robert Glade at 405-509-1417.

You’ll find more information about the contest here: https://peds-ent.com/pediatric-ent-teacher-appreciation-awards/.

You’ll find brief bios of the three award-winners here: https://peds-ent.com/teacher-appreciation-2018-top-15/

About Pediatric ENT of Oklahoma

The Pediatric ENT team of healthcare providers serves patients in Oklahoma City, Norman, Lawson and the surrounding area. Led by Dr. Paul Digoy, Dr. Robert Glade and Dr. Elena Woodson, fellowship-trained, board-certified pediatric ENT surgeons, the team provides care for a variety of disorders that affect children’s ears, nose and throat.