By Laura Dobson
Special to The Witness
CEDAR FALLS — St. Patrick Catholic School kindergarten teacher Beth Stone is the 2020 recipient of the Cedar Falls Lions Club Outstanding Educator Award. The award was established to recognize an exceptional educator who goes above and beyond to create opportunities that foster student growth, embodies civic action and engages others in service and inspires and promotes a spirit of life-long learning.
Dr. Sarah Montogomery, University of Northern Iowa associate professor of elementary education, nominated Stone for the award. In her letter, she stated, “Mrs. Stone believes in the power of her young students. … She is an outstanding teacher given her service learning leadership and through her advocacy for innovative approaches to early childhood education.”
On Feb. 7, Stone’s kindergarten class took a trip to City Hall, visited with Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green, and presented concerns and possible solutions regarding crosswalk safety to city engineers.
In her nomination, Montgomery wrote, “Mrs. Stone supported students using their voices to advocate for changes in our local community. The students felt empowered to be change agents and learned how to engage in civil dialogue with elected officials. Thanks to Mrs. Stone’s teaching the students learned about how laws are made, taxes, the role of City Council members, the job of the Mayor, and City Hall. City Engineers thanked the Kindergarten students and told them that they will plan to include a push button for pedestrians at this intersection when they redesign Main Street in the next two years.”
Stone received a letter from the Lions Club announcing her award. She will accept a plaque and a $500 award when the club is able to hold meetings again.
Upon receiving her award letter, Stone wrote, “I am blessed to work in such a great school environment. Families, staff, and administration encourage service learning at all levels, even kindergarten. They may need more direction but they still have great ideas.”
Stone also serves on the faculty Lighthouse Team, which oversees implementation of the Leader in Me leadership program at the school. She is proud that at St. Patrick “students are empowered to lead at school, home, and in the community.”
Principal Lynette Hackett said, “Beth is always willing to place her students in a leadership role and encourage them to make a difference in the world. Beth is well deserving of this award. She is a treasure to St. Patrick School and the children in her class.”
Dobson is marketing coordinator for St. Patrick School and Church in Cedar Falls.
Teacher Beth Stone of St. Patrick School in Cedar Falls visits City Hall with her kindergarten students to advocate for a safety improvement at a pedestrian crosswalk. (Contributed photo)