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Five MCAS Educators, Two Programs Honored

Educators of the Year

The Michigan City Chamber of Commerce honored five outstanding educators and two innovative programs during its Educators of the Year Awards dinner at Blue Chip’s Stardust Event Center on Tuesday, November 7.

All of the awardees were from Michigan City Area Schools. They included:

Jennifer Gracyalny, Spanish Teacher, Michigan City High School

Rachel Ward, Sixth Grade Teacher, Knapp Elementary School

Sharon Arndt, First Grade Teacher, Pine Elementary School

Amy Wojasinski-Labis, Student Support Services Teacher, Michigan City High School.

The Lake Hills Elementary School STEM Program received the “Shining Light” award for is outstanding program, and the Michigan City High School Wolves Environmental Restoration Team received an honorable recognition award in the same category. Accepting for Lake Hills was Principal Connie Bachmann and STEM Coordinator Shelley Deutscher, while the Environmental Restoration Team was represented by MCHS teacher Stephanie Dege and Nicole Messacar of the LaPorte County Soil & Water Conservation District.

Dr. Jan Radford, Michigan City Area Schools Director of Curriculum and Instruction, received the evening’s highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of her accomplishments in over 38 years in education. Radford will retire in December, after more than 24 years with Michigan City Area Schools. Among her contributions to MCAS are the Safe Harbor program, Early College, High Ability programs, summer school and much more.

This is the first year for the awards dinner, which will now become an annual event. Mary Jo Orlowski, Chamber President, welcomed guests, and Chamber Board President Stephanie Oberlie delivered opening remarks. Introducing each distinguished educator was MCAS Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins. Dr. Elaine Carey, Dean of Education and Social Sciences at Purdue Northwest, assisted in presenting the awards.

The evening also featured a performance by the Michigan City High School Treble Chorale and City Singers, under the direction of Michelle Howisen.

Corporate sponsors for the Educators of the Year Awards program included Purdue Northwest, General Insurance Services, Harbour Trust, NIPSCO, McShane’s Business Products, and Blue Chip.