Lawrence High School English teacher Michael Carriger could handle the recognition that comes with being this year’s Bobs’ Award winner. But, it was the $10,000 check that left him slightly speechless.
On Wednesday afternoon as LHS staff celebrated the end of the school year and retirements, members of the Lawrence Schools Foundation and district officials presented Carriger with the Bobs’ Award.
“The money is a bit unreal,” Carriger said. “I don’t have words for the monetary part.”
Funded by an anonymous group of civic leaders with the name Bob and their families and managed through the Lawrence Schools Foundation, the Bobs’ Award is given to one outstanding teacher every year. Along with the recognition comes a $10,000 check, which recipients can spend however they choose.
“I want to thank the foundation and I guess men named Bob and their families,” Carriger said after receiving a standing ovation from his colleagues.
School officials said Carriger has helped improve reading test scores by working on individual student and department levels. He also helps boost graduation rates by teaching at winter night school and summer school.
Carriger has taught at LHS since 2001. Before that, he spent a year at West Junior High School and five years in Lyndon. Fellow LHS English teacher Bill Patterson described Carriger’s style as traditional and commanding.
“As a person, he has devoured knowledge and has been able to give that to students in unique ways,” Patterson said.
English teacher Shannon Draper said Carriger is someone who listens to students and teachers and always has the “big picture in mind.”
“As outstanding of an educator as he is, he is that outstanding as a human being,” Draper said.
Wednesday’s award was a bit of shock to Carriger, who thanked the district for “letting teachers teach.”
“This is humbling,” he said. “It’s also embarrassing. It almost implies this is a solitary effort. And anyone who has taught knows it isn’t.”