Past, present honored

Tracy Area HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER Elizabeth Johnson receives her 2021 Teacher of the Year award from Tracy Area Public Schools Supt. Chad Anderson at last Thursday’s American Education Banquet. Ashley Buysse was named the Tracy Area Elementary School Teacher of the Year but was unable to attend the banquet due to health reasons. Please see Pages 2-3 for more on last week’s event. Photos / Per Peterson

The annual American Education Banquet was back in person last week

By Per Peterson

Students, and current and former staff were honored at last Thursday’s American Education Banquet at The Caboose, as a number of special awards were given out and two graduates were inducted into the Tracy Area Public Schools Wall of Fame.

“The number of people attending tonight reinforces the importance of education in our community,” Tracy Area High School Supt. Chad Anderson said in his opening address. “The education of our children is relevant to everyone. Everyone in this room has been, are currently, or will be directly affected by the education of students graduating from Tracy Area Public Schools.”

Anderson said those honored for their work have contributed to society in a number of ways, and current teachers continue to shape future generations.

“We are also honoring our best and brightest students who are preparing for their future service to our society,” he said.

Student achievers receiving awards this year are featured on Pages 2-3.

Teachers of the Year

This year’s Teachers of the Year are Ashley Buysse from Tracy Area Elementary School and ag teacher and FFA advisor Elizabeth Johnson from TAHS.

Johnson started at TAHS in 2018 and as senior Nicholas Ankrum said in his introduction, has been an integral part of the community since.

“She is very dedicated to her work and is always busy working to be a better teacher and role model to her students,” Ankrum said. “Her bright personality and smiling face are what every student looks forward to every day. She is always busy helping nearby communities through the FFA association. Ms. Johnson always finds ways to make sure her students feel safe and excited to learn in her classroom.”

Ankrum noted that Johnson has earned a number of teaching awards with her work at TAHS, including a national award she will receive later this year.

Cohen Radke, representing the grade school, introduced Buysse, who made the move to the public school after four years of teaching third and fourth grades at St. Mary’s School. She now teaches second grade.

“Mrs. Buysse has a quiet demeanor, but easily holds students’ respect,” Radke said. “She accepts every student for who they are and pushes them to achieve beyond their goals. She has wanted to be a teacher even since she was a little girl. She was inspired by her kindergarten teacher because of her big heart and how she cared about her students. She feels that teaching is her calling.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.