FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 20, 2010 : The American Bridge Teachers Association is proud to announce the eight finalists for its new Teacher of the Year Award, which is sponsored by Master Point Press, the world’s leading bridge book publisher (www.masterpointpress.com). They have been selected from an original sixty-six nominees.
The finalists are:
One of these exceptional people will be announced as the ABTA MPP Teacher of the Year at the ABTA Convention in New Orleans on Wednesday July 21, 2010. The winner will also be acknowledged on the final day of the convention during the harbor cruise. (For more information about the conference see www.abtahome.com.)
The entire list of nominees and a short biography of each of them is available on Facebook. If you are a member of Facebook, you can become a fan by simply searching for, and going to, the “ABTA Master Point Press Teacher of the Year Award” page, and clicking the “Become A Fan” button next to the page title. You will also find some of the stories in the ‘Teacher of the Month’ feature on www.masteringbridge.com.
The ABTA Teacher of the Year committee consists of: Jo-Ann Damato, Joyce Penn, Marti Ronemus, Brenda Simpson, and chairperson Barbara Seagram. Linda Lee (Vice President, Marketing, Master Point Press) and her staff helped handle the administrative load and made many useful suggestions as the committee worked on designing the Award process.
The first job was to put together the Award criteria, and start to get the word out, and on September 4 the first press release was issued. It began:
"Not every bridge teacher has authored a bestseller, written a newspaper column, or become well-known enough to receive an entry in the Encyclopedia of Bridge.
Nevertheless, there are many teachers who continue to inspire their students day in and day out, promoting the game in their community and answering any question clearly, concisely and without judgment, whether it’s about Roman Keycard Blackwood or simply, “What’s a finesse?”. Their work too often goes unrecognized, yet it is vital to the future of the game."
The message was that this wasn’t an award for the big-name superstars, but for the unsung heroes of the bridge teaching world.
After that, the nominations started to pour in. From all over North America, students sent in scrapbooks and albums that they had painstakingly crafted, wonderful letters of support for their teachers, and in one case, even a video! One set of students from Texas wanted to know when the award would be presented because they intended to come with their teacher to watch her accept the award!
Nominations closed April 1. Nominees were evaluated in each of the following categories:
What kind of people are these teachers? In one word, inspirational. As a group they work long hours, put in a lot of time in preparation, come early, stay late, and love what they do.
Committee members have talked to many of the student nominators, and some of the teachers. At times they have been thrilled, amazed, and in one case saddened. They heard from a teacher who really wanted to nominate an area bridge teacher who had recently passed away. She talked about what an inspiration this teacher had been. While this teacher was not eligible, one could certainly understand the esteem in which she was held, and the great loss to her community.
The ABTA will soon start to make plans for next year’s awards. One option is to ask current candidates if they wish to be considered, along with new entrants, among next year’s nominees. Either way, the intent is to acknowledge how much their services to bridge are appreciated.