Peitz honored by HTC students, staff

Auction items helped raise money Saturday at the Holy Trinity Catholic Silver & Blue celebration. The event raised close to $50,000 for teachers in the system. Courtesy photo.

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG

PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – On a weekend holiday usually meant for the color green, Linda Peitz blushed a little red on Saturday when we she was tapped as the Teacher of the Year at the annual Silver & Blue Celebration at McAleer Hall.

Peitz, a 6th grade teacher and 7th grade science teacher at Holy Trinity and the former Aquinas High School, was also recognized for her role in the community and being a role model for students.

One nomination form in particular recognized Peitz for her integration and collaboration skills, her volunteer capacities on the St. Mary’s Parish Council and the school’s technology committee, and volunteering to come to the high school to teach the 7th grade science when the need arose.

One student nominated Peitz for getting the most out of her students, her dedication and her sense of humor.

“Another thing I really like about Mrs. Peitz is she is always quick with a funny comeback. She really cracks me up! I hope Mrs. Peitz wins Teacher of the Year. She deserves it. Since she even put up with teaching my Mom 30 years ago!,” the student wrote.

This is a highly attended annual event where local individuals, business and organizations purchase tables and a small volunteer group prepares dinner for everyone, including the teachers who are hosted by the others.

The Blue & Silver Celebration was started three years ago as a means to provide teachers with a bonus at Christmas. According to committee marketing director Donna Borst, teachers at HTC earn considerably less than they could if they taught at a public school so the school board wanted to try and give them a little extra if possible.

The idea was born out of a land donation to Holy Trinity years ago by local families. The land was the former Sheaffer Pen parking lot and when the land was sold a portion of the sale was used by the school board to give teachers the first bonuses that they had ever received. The families included Joe and Canda Rashid, Jan and Brad Randolph, Dr. Mark and Kara Pothitakis, Niko and Carrie Pothitakis and Brad and Jeanne Deery.
The bonuses were so well received that the board tried to find a way to make it an annual  program and the Blue & Silver Celebration was started.
Over the past two years, the board has been able to give nice bonuses to the staff as a result of the annual program.
Jim Baier, Inc. had generously given HTC $15,000 every year for the past ten years to use to help cover costs for the teachers. Borst said the board took that $15,000 and put it directly into that event and distributed every dollar back to the teachers.
Jim Baier’s commitment ended last year, but both the Rashid family and both Pothitakis families have helped make up the difference.
We do not have the numbers tallied yet, but we are hopeful that we will once again bring in over $50,000 for our teachers.
The event recognizes every teacher with the number of years in the HTC system and the total numbers of years teaching.
Funding for the event comes from ticket sales, donated auction items, cash donations as well as in-kind donations from the committee, kitchen, bar and auction volunteers and Rita Holtkamp who spends close to a week preparing the meal.
HTC teacher Linda Peitz is the Teacher of the Year. She is presented by Mike Avery of the HTC school board and Amy Merschman, Vice President of the board.  Peitz first taught at Aquinas and then stayed on through the merger into HTC. She has been with the system her entire teaching career – 38 years. She has taught 6th grade for most of her career, but now teachers Math 4-6 grade as well as coming to the Jr./Sr. High to teach 7th grade Science. Linda is a phenomenal teacher and is known for preparing her students for the rigors and challenges of students when they move to 7th grade at the Jr./Sr. High. Courtesy photo.

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