After 15 years with the North Bellmore School District, teacher Jean Patterson, had the most special day of her career on May 13, when a student nominated her for the Applebee’s Above and BEEyond Teacher award.
Fourth-grader Jordan Wessel wrote an essay explaining all of the reasons that he felt Patterson should be nominated.
Patterson was one of four Long Island educators honored by Doherty Enterprises, the local Applebee’s franchisee. Selected from more than 200 nominations, she received a $500 prize for classroom supplies, which she plans to use to purchase flexible seating and new books for the inclusive library. The class also earned a catered lunch from Applebee’s.
“I am so honored and my heart is so full,” Patterson said. “It’s the highlight of my teaching career. Jordan’s words about me were so beautiful.”
Jordan read her essay out loud, sharing with his classmates and the rest of the faculty why Patterson was so deserving of the award. She cited her teacher’s big heart, calm demeanor and ability to connect with all 25 students in her classroom.
“When Ms. Patterson smiles at you, it’s a gift, cause in her deep grin, something falls into you,” Jordan wrote. “It may be hope, or love, but no one can tell cause she has too much of both in her. And talk about her generosity, it never ends.”
Patterson has taught third, fourth and fifth grades at the Jacob Gunther and Dinkelmeyer elementary schools. She was honored at a schoolwide assembly with her students joining her on stage. Her husband, Jim, teaching colleagues, Principal Danica Brugge and Superintendent Marie Testa also joined in recognizing her for her work with students.
Michael Mihovics, marketing manager for Doherty Enterprises, presented the award. He explained that the purpose of the Above and BEEyond essay contest is to shine a light on great teachers and also to give students a voice.
Ms. Brugge, explaining that Ms. Patterson lives out the district’s mission statement every day, said, “She has taught students that there is no limit to their potential. She has established meaningful relationships with all of her students and created a community of kindness in her classroom where every single child knows that they are valued.”