Nominating student Isabella Mouat, left, with Goodfellow Teacher of the Year Elizabeth Kolesar. (Detroit Public Schools)
Detroit— “She thinks of us as smart kids. She makes us believe in ourselves and she makes us learn what we do not know. She is the ‘bestest’ teacher ever. She does not care about how we look or what our skin color is. She just cares about our education. She makes us matter!”
That praise, written in a nomination essay by 11-year-old student Isabella Mouat for fifth-grade math teacher Elizabeth Kolesar, won over the Goodfellows board of directors who announced Kolesar the winner of the annual Goodfellow Teacher of the Year contest on Tuesday
Detroit Goodfellows board members surprised Kolesar at Bennett Elementary in Detroit with the news and presented her with a $200 gift card to buy classroom supplies. This fall, Kolesar will be acknowledged at the Detroit Goodfellows Annual Tribute Breakfast.
The Goodfellows board of directors selected the winning teacher from nominations by Detroit Public School students in grades 3 through 8 who designated their favorite teachers by answering the question “Why is your teacher so special?” in 50 words or less.
There were over 750 entries this year. Kolesar, a DPS teacher for 15 years, received 20 nominations.
The Detroit Goodfellows sponsors the contest to show appreciation to Detroit Public School administrators, teachers and support staff who, each year, work to identify students in need of its holiday gift packages, officials said.
The 100-year-old charity’s mission is to ensure that there is “No Kiddie Without a Christmas.”
Founded in 1914, the Detroit Goodfellows is the original and oldest Goodfellow organization. It sponsors an emergency dental program for children, awards scholarships through Wayne State University, provides free shoes to children in need and helps send hundreds of needy children to camp each summer.