PHOENIX — An elementary school teacher in Phoenix has been named KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad Show’s Pay Tribute to a Teacher winner for September, presented by Your Valley Toyota Dealers.
Cheryl Gedney is a teacher at Acacia Elementary School and shows great dedication to ensure her kids have a smile on their face both in the classroom and away from the learning environment, prompting one person to nominate her for the $2,500 prize.
Gedney, who has taught for more than 17 years, is described as a good person with a big heart who puts others’ needs before her own and helps the community in many ways – including helping a student who was struggling with school experience a storied tradition.
She learned at the start of the school year that a student had never got ice cream from an ice cream truck.
So Gedney gave the student $2 and told him to go to the park after school and order some ice cream out of the truck.
“He walked by with his batman ice cream and with the gumball eyes, just grin, smile,” she told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad. “I just wanted to cry because I don’t think any kid should not have an experience just like that.”
Gedney described the student as struggling in the online environment during the COVID-19 pandemic, at times having attention and behavior issues.
That changed when he returned to the classroom.
“When we went back in-person, he was just the happiest person,” she said, adding the student would shout across the classroom that he loved her.
Gedney says she got to know him and learn what motivates him upon a return to the classroom, and decided to use that special experience with the ice cream truck as a way to celebrate his successes.
“We made it a Friday ritual that he would get to go if he had great behavior and great attention and he made it through that week that he would get even just $2 to go to the ice cream man and order what he wanted,” she said.
That’s only one of many examples of Gedney doing whatever it takes for student happiness, even if they are not in the classroom.
She delivered a care package filled with crumbled cookies and inspirational notes to a student who had come down with COVID-19 and was quarantined for 10 days, something Gedney knows about having personally battled the disease.
“It’s sad that they don’t get to see their friends and they miss out on the education part but I want them to know that we are still thinking of them,” she said.
“I just want them to know that I’m still there even though I’m not physically there.”
It should come as no surprise that when Gedney was told she had won $2,500, she wanted to share that with her students and invite the ice cream truck back so they could all experience that tradition.
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