The cheers in Lace Elementary School’s gym Wednesday were as loud as those at a concert.
What made the energy all the more special was that it was directed at two of Lace’s own—art teacher Sally Misiora and fifth-grade teacher Janel Smith, who were named the school’s teachers of the year.
Republic Bank sponsored the award and presented each of the women with a $250 check to buy items for their classrooms.
“The teachers stand on their own merit,” said Republic Bank Market Manager Paul Guagenti. “From the response they got, we can see we made the right choices.”
Smith, who has taught at Lace for 11 years, said it means a lot to be recognized for her work and the commitment she has to her students.
“I truly believe in my heart that everyone has it within themselves to learn and be something,” she said. “Whatever you want to do, you can do it.”
Misiora has taught at various schools within District 61 for 15 years. For her, the award is validation that she’s made a difference in the lives of the children she teaches.
“I want them to feel really good about what they create,” she said. “I want them to think differently through their art because that will help them in so many subjects.”
Each of the teachers also gets a plaque and a poster that will hang in Lace’s halls.
Sally Garcia Navarro, Republic Bank's Darien branch manager, said it felt like a natural fit for the bank to sponsor the awards this year.
“It’s our way to reach out to the community to show we appreciate the hard work teachers instill in our children, because that’s our future,” she said.