April 24 2012: English teacher honored in “My Favorite Teacher” contest

Originally published http://elestoque.org/2012/04/24/news/english-teacher-nikki-mcmillion-honored-my-favorite-teacher-contest/

English teacher Mikkie McMillion holds the certificate and package of books that were given to her during the awards ceremony for the “My Favorite Teacher” contest. McMillion was nominated by senior Aafreen Mahmood. Photo by Elvin Wong.

During a half-hour event on April 23, senior Aafreen Mahmood, the third and final local winner to speak, read aloud her essay on English teacher Mikki McMillion to an audience in collapsible chairs. The “My Favorite Teacher” awards ceremony took place in the Stevens Creek Blvd. Barnes and Noble from 4:30 to 5:00 p.m., and everyone, including friends and Principal April Scott, was excited and cheered on the award winners.

This is the second year that the “My Favorite Teacher” contest has been held by the bookstore chain. Last year, one of the regional winners was class of 2011 alumna Evaline Tsai, who wrote an essay about math teacher Joe Kim.

“The [contest] started out at a grassroots level in the East Coast,” local Barnes and Noble community relations manager Rob Fisher said. “[We] thought it was such a great idea that we made it a national event. Not only do we get great essays from the students, but we also got a great turn-[out] and a lot of love shown for the teachers who win.”

The purpose of the contest is to honor outstanding teachers in the community, as well as the K-12 students who nominate teachers through essays, poems and thank-you letters. According to Fisher, the local Barnes and Noble branch received several dozen student submissions by the March 1 deadline, which were then judged by himself and a local Santa Clara County librarian. The entries, graded on the sincerity of appreciation and inspirational qualities of teachers, were finally narrowed down to three regional winners of different ages.

Mahmood, the high school winner, wrote an essay about the kindness and support that McMillion had shown to her as a junior in McMillion’s American Literature Honors class. After reading her essay aloud during the awards ceremony, Mahmood was awarded a certificate and a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card, while McMillion was given a certificate and a gift-wrapped set of new books.

For McMillion, who did not know that she had been nominated until the winners were announced a week before spring break, the best part was hearing how much she meant to Mahmood.

“I got a little teary,” McMillion said. “[The essay] was very sweet and intelligently written and sincere, which is from the heart — [very] much like Aafreen. I feel incredibly blessed that I got to know [her] as a student, that she was in my class … She’s also taught me a lot as a teacher, just from the stories that we shared with each other [to] being able to help her with her work and watch her grow in my class.”

Aafreen Mahmood is a reporter for El Estoque. To read last year’s coverage of the “My favorite teacher” contest, clickhere. To learn more about the contest, visit Barnes and Noble’s website.

{cc-by-nc-sa} Yimeng Han

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