BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Fourteen-year veteran Holy Trinity Elementary teacher Teri Holtkamp knew about 10 seconds into Lucy Arevalo’s nomination that she was going to be the teacher of the year.
The award was presented as part of the Holy Trinity Catholic school system’s annual Blue and Silver Celebration Saturday night to honor teachers and raise funds that contribute to, among other things, the holiday bonuses for teachers.
Arevalo was called up by School Board President Steve Link to read the nomination that was summed up by Arevalo telling Holtkamp she was, “the best teacher I’ve ever had.”
The Iowa Wesleyan University graduate has been teaching for close to 20 years and said she was shaking after hearing her name in the young girl’s nomination letter.
“I was absolutely shocked and didn’t know what to think. I don’t even think I heard the rest of her speech,” Holtkamp said after receiving a glass plaque and $250.
She said the students, parents, and co-workers are what makes Holy Trinity a special place to work.
“I think it’s just great how much our parents support us here every year,” Holtkamp said. “This provides a good bonus for all the teachers here at Christmas time and I just want to thank everyone for that.”
She said teaching has changed a lot in the past two decades with technology changing the education environment almost on a daily basis.
“We don’t even hardly use textbooks anymore. When we need to look up the meaning of a word, you just look it up on your computer. You don’t even use a dictionary,” she said.
“It’s certainly brought a different dimension to teaching. Everything is right at your fingertips.”
The wife and mother of four said the teaching model has changed a lot since she got into the profession.
“It’s no longer teacher-to-student, but now a student-to-student model in a collaborative environment,” Holtkamp said. “We still have to teach state assessment goals, but the teaching role is changing.”
Her children Kyle, Brant, Abby and Megan all attend or have attended Holy Trinity Catholic schools.