Without our nation’s veterans, America wouldn't be the great nation it is today. Our youth deserve to learn about our rich history, traditions and the role of our veterans in creating and shaping America.
The VFW Teacher of the Year award contest recognizes three exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students. Each year, a classroom elementary, junior high and high school teacher whose curriculum focuses on citizenship education topics — for at least half of the school day in a classroom environment — can be nominated for the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award. Winners receive:
- A $1,000 award for professional development expenses.
- A $1,000 award for his/her school.
- Two award plaques: one for the teacher, the other for his/her school.
- An all-expenses-paid trip to attend a VFW conference to receive their award.
Please review the rules and eligibility requirements and nominate a teacher you know by submitting the 2019-20 nomination form.
Looking to share updated information and materials on VFW's Voice of Democracy, Patriot's Pen and Teacher Award programs? Share our National Scholarship Brochure with the students and educators in your community.
And the 2018-19 Teacher of the Year winners are ...
Bobbie Schamens, a fourth-grade teacher at Meadowview Intermediate School in Sparta, Wisc., was named the elementary school winner for her efforts in recognizing the service and sacrifice of her hometown’s military families. Schamens’ personal experience as a military spouse has helped her teach students civic responsibility, patriotism and proper flag etiquette. She organizes cards for military care packages and recognizes local military and veteran families with a military tribute case near her classroom. Schamens’ students also visit the state capital to experience history and our government first hand. VFW Post 2112 and its Auxiliary in Sparta, Wisc., sponsored Schamens.
Representing the middle school level is Anne Martin, a seventh-grade language arts and social studies teacher at Williams Middle School in Tracy, Calif. She was selected because over her 24-year career, Martin has used her experience as a Gold Star family member to help her students and community better understand the sacrifices made by America’s military and veteran families. Martin’s work includes organizing school-wide campaigns to collect donations and thank you letters for deployed troops, and coordinating the school’s annual Patriot Day celebration which includes a patriotic door-decorating contest. She also oversees the school’s Associated Student Body elections, helping students understand and navigate the democratic process. VFW Post 1537 in Tracy, Calif., sponsored Martin.
Kevin Wagner, an advanced placement history teacher at Carlisle High School in Carlisle, Penn., was chosen to represent the high school level for his dedication to honoring the memory of America’s veterans. Through his "Silent Heroes” project, students explore the life and service of a local World War II veteran killed at Normandy and create a webpage preserving their legacy. Last year Wagner’s project expanded to identify local Vietnam War veterans, leading to the construction of a Vietnam Wall of Honor which displays the names of more than 213 veterans and 10 flag cases in honor of the former students killed during the war. VFW Post 477 and its Auxiliary in Carlisle, Pa., sponsored Wagner.