Student essay earns class pizza party, tv appearance

James Geshel (in Detroit Tigers shirt, back row) won his first grade teacher, Mrs. Wallis, the Cool Teacher with an essay describing how she makes learning to read fun.

James Geshel (in Detroit Tigers shirt, back row) won his first grade teacher, Mrs. Wallis, the Cool Teacher with an essay describing how she makes learning to read fun.

James Geshel has a very cool teacher, and now anyone who watches WGVU (or reads the Rockford Squire newspaper) knows it. An essay directed the public television station to choose Parkside Elementary’s Mrs. Wallis, first grade teacher, as winner of the Cool Teacher contest. As winner, her class enjoyed a pizza party and a slot on television.

Geshel’s essay describes how cool Mrs. Wallis is. “She publishes stories with us,” he wrote. “She gives us homework that is fun… She gives us lots of writing minutes that is wonderful.” Wallis said she was surprised by the honor. “It’s interesting to see from their perspective,” she said of Geshel’s essay. “You try, but you don’t really know what they think. When they turn around and call you cool, it’s neat.”

Students kindergarten through eighth grade nominate their teachers by writing a letter. Each winning teachers and the nominating student receive four tickets from Amtrack for a trip from Grand Rapids to Chicago. On May 11, 2010 WGVU will host a year-end awards celebration to honor all of this year’s winning teachers.

Geshel, who also can name the presidents of the United States from most recent to first or the other way around, was a clear favorite in his class on the day of the pizza party and television filming. Sadly, two members of the class missed the excitement when they were required to report to the office right when the pizza and television crew arrived. Nonetheless, it was a great day at Parkside Elementary for Mrs. Wallis’ class. Geshel’s final comment on his winning essay regarding his teacher was reason number six on her list of cool qualifications: “I think my teacher should win because she is the nicest teacher in the whole entire world.”

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