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Photo Credit: Jordan School District
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Local Educators Surprised With Awards, Cash

RIVERTON, Utah — A big surprise for more than a dozen teachers in the Jordan School District on Thursday as they not only got a special award but a lot of cash.

“Give it up for Mary Garcia!” was the announcement that came during an assembly at Southland Elementary School.

Garcia was one of 18 teachers from 18 different schools that received the Educator of the Year Award from the Jordan Education Foundation.

The award comes with $1,000 to be used for personal things, rather than school supplies.

“Oh I can’t believe it,” said a very excited Garcia, who has been teaching special education for 35 years. “Oh my gosh! Who couldn’t use [the money].”

The event has turned into a yearly thing for school board members and community leaders who all travel together in what they call the “party bus” to deliver the surprise awards.

“Oh this is the greatest day of the year,” said Mike Haynes, board of director with Jordan District. “It’s so much fun every year. We get kids jumping up and down cheering for their teachers.”

Such was the case for Mallory Morrill, a 1st grade teacher at South Jordan Elementary school who got the surprise award during a school assembly she thought was for something else.

“I am really excited. I don’t know what to say,” said Morrill.

Natalie Smith, a special needs teacher at Kauri Sue Hamilton School, was nearly brought to tears as they gave her the award.

“I’m so grateful. I’m totally speechless,” said Smith. “To get that kind of recognition shows it’s where I’m supposed to be and doing what I need to do, which I definitely needed in my life.”

The teachers will all be honored together at a special dinner banquet at Little America in Salt Lake on April 10th.

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