Honored Guests

Library Hosts Annual Award Ceremony For Teachers, Students

Posted: May 10, 2013

Bobbie Arbogast (center), Challenge Program teacher at Lacey Spring and John C. Myers elementary schools, received the 2013 Honored Teachers Award Thursday as part of the Robert B. and Gladys Hopkins Strickler Honored Teachers Writing Contest. Jordyn Yoder (left), a John C. Myers fifth-grader who wrote a winning essay honoring Arbogast for this year’s contest, poses with her teacher during the awards ceremony Thursday night at the Massanutten Regional Library’s main branch in Harrisonburg. (Photos by Holly Marcus / Special to the DN-R)
Fulks Run Elementary School first-grader Amos Horst reads his first-place essay honoring his teacher, Linda King, during Thursday’s ceremony for the Robert B. and Gladys Hopkins Strickler Honored Teachers Writing Contest.
Turner Ashby student Jessica Craig reads her winning essay honoring her math teacher, Tracey Pence (left), during the Robert B. and Gladys Hopkins Strickler Honored Teachers Writing Contest awards ceremony at the Massanutten Regional Library in Harrisonburg on Thursday.
HARRISONBURG — When Jordyn Yoder changed schools after fourth grade she was delighted to find a familiar face, her teacher, Bobbie Arbogast.
“Mrs. Arbogast always encourages us in whatever we do,” Jordyn said.
Arbogast, who teaches in Rockingham County Public Schools, was presented the 2013 Honored Teachers Award at Massanutten Regional Library on Thursday as part of the Robert B. and Gladys Hopkins Strickler Honored Teachers Writing & Art Contest. The library system organizes the event for school divisions in Harrisonburg and Rockingham and Page counties, which encompass MRL’s service area.
For the contest, students write essays or create art, which are ranked by the Harrisonburg Kiwanis, to show how their teachers are outstanding to win a cash prize for themselves. Students win $100, $50 or $25 depending on their rank in their respective divisions: kindergarten through second, third through fifth, sixth through eighth and ninth through 12th.
Then one of the teachers written about is named the Honored Teacher, winning a $500 check for the school.
Robert H. and Lorraine Strickler established the award, now in its 17th year, to honor Robert’s parents, longtime Rockingham County educators.
“We think teachers today are often overlooked,” Lorraine Strickler said.
Jordyn, who won first place among third- through fifth-graders, read her essay in front of the audience, as did the other top three finishers in each division.
She revealed her surprise and excitement when, after moving from Lacey Spring Elementary School to John C. Myers Elementary School for fifth grade, she found Arbogast would still be her Challenge Program teacher. Arbogast teaches the program, designated for gifted students, at both schools.
Arbogast teaches students to think for themselves, to collaborate with each other and to solve problems, according to Sandy Cupp, the John C. Myers Elementary School principal. 
“She’s extremely creative and she promotes creativity in her students,” Cupp said.
“We are allowed to ask questions and express ourselves whenever we want,” Jordyn said.
Arbogast said she blends literature and engineering in her classes. In her fifth-grade class, for example, she read the book “If I Built a Car” by Chris Van Dusen, describing a young boy’s dream of designing his own vehicle.
She then gave students a bag with wood, batteries, wire and other materials and told them to build a model based on a novel. Student-chosen themes included the “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” series.
“Children’s engineering is a way of [teaching] problem solving” and applied skills, Arbogast said.
Arbogast said she was shocked to receive the award.
“There’s some amazing teachers here,” she said. 
Contact Alex Rohr at 574-6293 or arohr@dnronline.com

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