SPRINGDALE, Ark. — A pair of teachers with the Springdale School district had quite a surprise as they were awarded the Bessie B. Moore award for outstanding economic and personal finance classroom projects.
Receiving the economic award was an unexpected but welcome surprise for teacher Jennifer Taunton, who’s original project was derailed because of COVID-19.
“When COVID hit we couldn't cook anymore and then we went home, and so we went back and looked at what were some other economics things we had done throughout the year," Taunton said.
Instead, the Childers Knapp Elementary School teacher submitted projects from throughout the school year.
“Economics is what allows them to facilitate their lives in society. As adults, they need to know how to budget, how to save, how to invest," Taunton said.
This is the 25th year of the program that selects educators from all over the state.
“Our state is known for some great entrepreneurs and we want to lead that forward by bringing on more children to help introduce them to those concepts," said Marsha Masters, Associate Director at Economics Arkansas.
Over at Don Tyson School of Innovation, Jennifer Malugen got recognized for the second time for her project teaching entrepreneurship using popular literature.
“If they get to learn a lot of those different skills through learning it by listening to someone else or listening to a book about someone else, I think it helps them to relate," Malugen said.
For both women, the best part about being a teacher is the students.
“Just being able to guide kids and help them to see what potential they have and how they need to put themselves forward and work as hard as they can," Malugen said.
They say they have big plans for the $1,000 award money.
“I’m buying a new computer. I’m so excited. I’ve wanted a new computer for a while and this will help with that," Taunton said.
“I have four children and two grandchildren and one on the way. So, I will be doing a lot of Christmas shopping so this will be fun," Malugen said.
Another teacher in our area also earned a “Bessie” award.
Jessica Culver at Ozark High School won for her project on the economics of World War II and a modern pandemic.