By DENETTE WATSON
DEARBORN — Three Dearborn Public Schools teachers were honored Wednesday for their impact on students in the district.
The announcement was made at the 16th annual Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce Alberta Muirhead Teacher of the Year Awards reception at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center.
Awards of $1,000 each were given to Celia Tynan, a fifth-grade teacher at McCollough Elementary; Sharifah Ahmed, from Salina Intermediate Middle School; and Michael Dicks, a math teacher from Fordson High School.
They were among 282 teachers in 32 schools nominated by students, who were encouraged to nominate teachers that they felt made an outstanding contributions in teaching excellence. A written essay, from the nominating student, accompanied each nomination. A total of 926 students submitted nominations.
A panel of judges determined the recipients of the awards, one each at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
The nomination was Tynan’s second in her 12 years in the district. She said receiving the award was a shock and it validates that she is doing something right.
““It validates that I’m succeeding at doing what I’m trying to do,” Tynan said. “It’s nice to be recognized by the students.”
Ahmed’s nomination and award comes in her first year as a teacher.
“Receiving the award shows that if you really care, then you can make a difference, regardless if you’re a first-year teacher or veteran teacher,” Ahmed said.
Dicks, who has been a teacher for nine years — five in Dearborn — has been nominated all five years he has taught in Dearborn. Dicks had an emotional moment on stage while receiving his award.
“It’s very humbling,” he said. “I am very thankful to the staff, administration and great students. It’s a great pleasure for hard work to be recognized by teachers and students.”
DPS Supt. Brian Whiston thanked the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce and acknowledged the late Alberta Muirhead for the contributions they’ve made toward strengthening the partnership between the school district and business community. He ended with a special thanks to the teachers in attendance.
“Thank you for taking on the hard job and being one of the few who can do it, who can make a difference in the lives of each child that sits in your classroom,” Whiston said. “Thank you for being a teacher.”
The award was created by Muirhead, a business leader and advocate for education in Dearborn.
Peggy Richard, chamber director of events, said the award is important.
“At a time when quality education is so critical to the economic growth and development of southeastern Michigan, we hope that this program will serve as a positive model for the development of other programs,” she said. “We believe this is a truly noteworthy event honoring those who make a huge impact on our young people.”