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Sponsor A Teacher Essay Contest. And the winners are...

$500 - 1st Place Winner:
Natalie Nevi
Norwin High School
Certificate for First Place Winner, Natalie Nevi.

NexTier Bank presents award to First Place Winner, Natalie Nevi.

(Left to Right) Natalie Cotherman presents 1st Place Essay Contest Winner, Natalie, with her certificate and award at Norwin High School.


When aliens came down to Earth and peeked inside our school, the first looked at the second and said, “this looks really cool”. “Let’s see if they will let us in to see the goings on.” They rang the bell and the secretary said, “this is crazy, but come on!”

She welcomed them, introduced herself, and escorted them to my room. “Hello Mrs. Nevi, we have some visitors from Neptune.” “Can we observe your class today? It would be such a delight.” This seemed really interesting and they were pleasant and polite.

They saw me jump from kid to kid and circle around the room answering questions about chemical formulas, structures, and gases on the moon. The bell had rung, the kids had left and more came in the room. The next group sat down quietly as I announced just what to do. They would be using Bunsen burners to put chemical reactions through.

The chemicals were placed in the flames and the students couldn’t believe their eyes. Bright bursts of color erupted and they saw rainbows before their eyes. Mrs. Nevi checked for safety and the students made her glad. A couple little reminders but it really wasn’t bad. Near the end of class, before the bell would ring, the students tidied their stations and gave their hands a clean. Onto the next class they would go just a four-minute break in between.

“How do you do it?” the aliens said as we waited in the hall. “You haven’t stopped for hours and still manage to smile.” “I love my job,” Mrs. Nevi said. “Each day is something new. Kids are learning, having fun, and challenging themselves too. When students step into my room, they are scared of Chemistry. As the year goes on, they begin to trust and slowly believe in me. Each student is very different and I get to know them all. I can tell you who had a bad day or got a new shirt at the mall. Some days can be difficult, but then I look and see—these students that I mentor are going on to do great things. I have some students that are doctors now and others that are engineers. By working really hard each day I help them to overcome their fears.”

“That’s really impressive,” the aliens said, “to see all that you do. We hope one day your class will join us on a field trip to the moon. They are lucky to have a teacher that cares so much for them. We’ll take back all the information and share it with our friends. As we pack up and head to outer space, we hope to see you again.”



$200 - 2nd Place Winner:
Carrie Persichini
McQuistion Elementary and Center Avenue Community SchoolsCertificate for First Place Winner, Carrie Persichini.

NexTier Bank Associates present award to Second Place Winner, Carrie Persichini.

(Left to Right) Natalie Cotherman, 2nd Place Winner - Carrie Persichini, Heidi McDowell, and Christina Gavula at our Back to School with NexTier Bank Reception.

Welcome to Earth! It is my pleasure to introduce you to the earthlings known as the “TEACHERS”. Teachers in our school are magical multi-tasking individuals on this planet! Each teacher has a busy life that they leave behind at the school door. Once they are in the school, the teachers’ sole focus is their students! All day, every day, teachers focus on the individual needs of all students in their care. Teachers are assigned a group of young earthlings to their care and they are expected to advance them to their next level of learning in a mere 180 days of instruction.

If your extra-terrestrial alien crew would attempt a mind-meld on an average Earth teacher here are some of the daily thoughts running through their brains: “How can we help the students understand the content? How can we motivate them to learn? How can we help them to care for each other and work together as a team? How on earth can I get Koltyn/Kaden/Korbin to stop picking his nose????!!” How can we prepare the students for the bright future they deserve? How can we please all stakeholders: parents, students, community, and administration? All of these tasks need to be juggled each day as the teacher sets the positive tone for their classroom.

The students’ school experience is solely the responsibility of the teacher, and they do not take this responsibility lightly. Students on our planet often recall their teachers fondly as they utilize their skills, even for years into the future! Wisdom from the teachers is imparted into their students and the students carry this forward throughout their lives! Just one teacher can impact thousands of students in their lifetime, which is extraordinary!

At the end of the day, oftentimes the teacher continues to dedicate themselves to more schoolwork, even as they carry on the responsibilities of their home and family. Teachers also enjoy learning and if you would like to know anything about our Earth, just ask a teacher! Even if they don’t know the answer immediately, they are experts of research and can find an answer for you very quickly! Teaching and learning often consumes the teacher, and it would be difficult to find any other occupation on Earth as dedicated to their profession as teachers.



$100 - 3rd Place Winner:
Jennifer Karla Hileman
Grace Christian School
Certificate for Third Place Winner, Jennifer Karla Hileman.

NexTier Bank Associates present award to Third Place Winner, Jennifer Karla Hileman.

(Left to Right) Natalie Cotherman, 3rd Place Winner - Jennifer K. Hileman, Heidi McDowell, and Christina Gavula at our Back to School with NexTier Bank Reception.

I would tell the alien all about my favorite teacher that most impacted my life as a student. This personal narrative would give the alien the best picture of what a teacher is. Then I would let the alien ask me all kinds of questions because as a teacher, I know that questioning helps students to learn.

Mrs. Snyder was my teacher. She knew that teaching was all about letting students participate in the learning. Rather than tell us how the settlers made butter, she separated us into two teams. Each team had a method for making butter; one group shook the cream in a jar, while the other group had a churn. We worked and worked to be the first group to have butter! Then we ate the butter on a cracker. I never forgot how butter was made, nor how fun it was to make it.

Mrs. Snyder played kickball with us at every recess. She did this to build our self-esteem and to teach us to work together. She had many little tricks to get us to do what we needed to do while thinking that we were only having fun.

Mrs. Snyder taught us how to learn. She showed us how to be organized. She taught me to love school. I knew after second grade that I wanted to be a teacher too! When I was in college to become a teacher, one of my assignments was to send my favorite teacher a thank you note. Do you know that she turned that into an opportunity to give me pointers into becoming an outstanding teacher like she was and to build my confidence and self-esteem?

Today, Mr. Alien, I am all about teaching my students how to learn. I want my class to make learning fun! I teach my students to believe in themselves. I truly care about my students. I want to help my students discover who they are and what their talents are. Lastly, I would invite Mr. Alien into my class where he could experience first-hand what a teacher is.