When the entire Somerset High School population was called into the gymnasium for a surprise assembly on Monday, May 6, art teacher and drama instructor Becky Olson was unsure of what to expect. Of all the things that she thought might come from the assembly, being recognized as a FOX 9 Top Teacher was not one of them.
"It was a complete surprise. I feel very humbled about receiving this award, I wish I could share it with all the other teachers in my building who deserve it as well. I am blessed to work in a job that I thoroughly enjoy," Olson said.
Friend and former co-worker Jeanne Germain nominated Olson, and couldn't say enough about her impact on the high school and its students.
"Becky is not only a highly talented and qualified teacher, she is a master community builder and role model for her students and coworkers. She is selfless, oftentimes sacrificing her prep times, before and after school and going in on weekends if needed to assist her students," Germain said in the nomination. "Visually, you cannot miss Becky's impact within the high school. Each year, she encourages her students to create motivational, beautiful and thought-provoking murals that are then displayed throughout the school."
Olson began teaching in Somerset as a sub and drama director in 2002 and transitioned to full time in 2006.
"My family is super supportive of my being recognized for the award. We are a tight-knit family that supports each other. Our home is a hot spot for anyone who needs a place to be, so we have a lot of business in our lives. We wouldn't have it any other way," Olson said. "Before passing away my mother told me that life is all about relationships. I carry her words with me always and hope to live out my life building relationships to leave my mark on the world. I am a strong supporter of the Somerset School District and feel that the teachers I work with share the same goal of building strong relationships with students as I do. It's a great place to work!"
As a FOX 9 Top Teacher, SHS receives a $1,000 check from Royal Credit Union, a Subway sandwich party and a Top Teacher award. FOX 9 representatives told Olson that hundreds of nominations are submitted every year. A panel narrows down that number to nine teachers.
"This award definitely validates my work as a teacher and the time I spend time guiding children. I tend to be the type of person that gives 100% to what I do, something that was taught to me by my father who used to always remind me that any job worth doing is worth doing well," Olson said. "This commitment usually has me coming to school early and many times leaving late. Since my husband is a teacher at the school I think our family lives at the school sometimes. This might seem crazy, but when I see how our presence positively affects others it makes it worthwhile.
"I believe that schools are the hub of our communities and we need to work together to create a strong support for our country's most important asset - our children!"
According to Olson, all of the FOX 9 Top Teachers will be featured in a TV special in June.