Cypress, TX (May 27, 2016) M. Robinson Elementary School teacher Amanda Hedges was in the middle of teaching her first-grade students when all of a sudden KHOU Channel 11 Great Day Houston correspondent Courtney Perna, along with students, staff and family, showed up unannounced to present her with the Star Furniture Red Apple Award—an award that recognizes outstanding educators. Perna surprised Hedges with an on-the-spot interview for a TV segment with Great Day Houston’s Deborah Duncan that will air on June 2.
Pictured from left: Assistant principal Dawn Tryon, Hedge’s fiance David Meissner, Amanda Hedges, Courtney Perna, and principal Irene Ruiz
“I was very surprised when my dance students [70 Lionettes and 79 Dandy-Lions] and the people who play an important role in my life came into my classroom to present me with the Red Apple Teacher Award,” Hedges said. “It means the world to be recognized for what I do every day and my heart is full to get a chance to impact my own students.”
Hedges was nominated by her former Girl Scout leader Sally Stewart for the award, which is presented monthly to a teacher who is making a difference in the classroom and the community.
“Amanda Hedges has always loved kids and has always wanted to be an elementary school teacher. While other girls her age were changing what they wanted to be every six months, she knew exactly what she wanted,” Stewart said. “When she first set up her classroom [as a new teacher three years ago], she put out an appeal to friends and family for books and other classroom necessities and to this day continues to scour garage sales, Goodwill and dollar stores to find specific books or craft materials to add to her classroom collection.”
According to Stewart, she also contributed to organizing a tree-planting project with a group of teachers over the summer.
“The trees were donated and Amanda helped to plant them and recruited a crew to water them over the summer,” Stewart said.
In addition to her busy schedule as a teacher, Hedges also directs two girl dance groups at M. Robinson Elementary School—the Lionettes for students in grades 3-5 and the Dandy-Lions, grades 1-2. Her passion for leading the large group of dancers and making a difference in their lives led her to purchasing uniforms for two students just to give them an opportunity that they would otherwise not have.
“Amanda has such a positive impact on our students. Through sponsoring our Dandy-Lions and Lionettes dance groups, she shares her love for dancing and gives them something to be proud of as they represent M. Robinson at on- and off-campus performances,” said M. Robinson principal Irene Ruiz. “She gives up so much of her own time to help our girls, encourages them to do their best in and out of the classroom and builds up their confidence levels to teach them that they can achieve anything they set their minds to. We are proud and honored to have her making a difference for our students each day.”
As a recipient of the award, Hedges will not only be recognized on Great Day Houston, but she will also receive classroom furniture from Star Furniture.