Scottsbluff High School is proud to announce the 2018 Christa McAuliffe Prize for Courage and Excellence in Education has been awarded to Dr. Elena Garcia. Garcia teaches English Language Arts and Theater at SHS. The Christa McAuliffe Prize was established by Dr. Gregg Wright in 1986 to honor a courageous teacher who has a lasting and positive effect on students and on peers.
This prize is different than other “Teacher of the Year” awards. “Rewarding courage selects out a slightly different kind of teacher,” said Dr. Gregg Wright, creator of the prize. The teachers who are recognized are all excellent educators, but they go beyond excellence by showing courage. Courage can be displayed in many different ways, but the common denominator among all the prizewinners is the lasting and positive effect they have had on their students and on their peers. The prize was started as a memorial for Christa McAuliffe, the teacher/astronaut who lost her life in the Challenger space shuttle accident in January, 1986. Ms. McAuliffe provided a very visible demonstration of both courage and excellence in education–qualities that are found in many Nebraska teachers to the benefit of all our children. This fund provides a way to recognize these teachers, and at the same time honor the memory of Ms. McAuliffe’s courage.
“She saw my potential and she made me see it as well,” said Scottsbluff High School student Lola Sabala. “She makes me feel important and wanted. She inspires me to become a better actress every day. I can’t stress enough how important she is to me.”
The prize is awarded annually to a Nebraska teacher. The winning teacher receives a $1000 stipend and a plaque.