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Park City Education Foundation honors all district employees with this year’s Excellent Educator Awards



PARK CITY, Utah – The Park City Education Foundation took the coronavirus into consideration while planning this year’s Excellent Educator Awards.

“Like everything else this past year, our awards, which have been going on since 1996, are being done differently,” said Jennifer Billow, the foundation’s associate director of communications and development. “This year, after talking to a lot of teachers, we felt it would be better to honor every one of the 680 (Park City School District) employees — from custodians and lunchroom workers, to the teachers and principals — who worked so hard to keep our students safe and doing in-person learning during the school year. We felt it would be impossible to honor just one person, because everyone has been through the wringer and worked very hard.”

TheEducation Foundation decided to “shed some light” on these employees by posting their names on banners on lampposts on Main Street, according to Billow, rather than honor just a handful of educators throughout the district like in a normal year.

The banners were installed earlier this week, she said.

“I think this was the most fun idea that we came up with,” Billow said. “We weren’t sure how that would go over, because 75% of the district is outside of Park City limits, but the response has been tremendous. We’re seeing posts all over teachers’ Facebook and Instagram pages that they have gone up and have enjoyed seeing their names and their co-workers’ names on the banners.”

As an added bonus, the foundation delivered a caramel apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate to every employee last week.

“The apples included a tag that lists discounts and freebies that every Park City School District employee could receive from Main Street merchants, and these discounts are good until the end of May and early June,” she said.

In addition to the banners on Main Street, the Park City Education Foundation posted 6-by-6-foot banners with the name of every school employee outside of their respective schools, Billow said.

Posting the banners at the schools ties in with the foundation’s annual relay-race fundraiser, Running With Ed, scheduled to be held Saturday, she said.

“We want to encourage students and parents to take a photo in front of the banner, especially on that day, and post it on social media with a message thanking their teachers, and once the race ends, we want to invite everyone to Main Street for a de-facto finish party celebration,” Billow said. “We decided to do this because we couldn’t do a big finish and fit 1,500 people inside the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse, like we normally do. So, we thought we should invite everyone, whether they participated in the race or not, to Main Street.”

The Main Street celebration will include live music on Main Street at Miners Park from 1-5 p.m., and many of the merchants will give additional discounts to Park City School District employees, according to Billow.

“The employees just need to show their badges and get the discounts,” she said.

Park City Education Foundation will also announce the winners of the Park City Mountain grants in amounts of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000 that will go to the schools that have the highest number of Running with Ed registrants, Billow said.

“All of this is possible thanks to our sponsor, the Louis Family,” she said. “Hank Louis was an educator, and his sons support the awards.”

Another annual award, the Sarah and Stephen Doilney Award, which is funded by Jim Doilney, will be announced on June 2 during the Park City High School graduation rehearsal, Billow said.

“The award goes to the teacher who is most influential on students’ career in Park City School District,” she said. “The seniors vote on these teachers and are encouraged to write comments.”

Past award recipients include Park City High School science teacher Ed Mulick, retired Park City High School chemistry teacher Janice Jones, and Park City High School math teacher Eric Janes, Billow said.

“It’s very meaningful that these seniors nominate these teachers, and it’s been very meaningful for the Park City Education Foundation to be able to present these awards and host Running with Ed,” she said. “This year has been interesting to try new things, which has given us a freedom to honor every educator and bring our community in to show support of our public schools.”