Crayola prize a ‘huge blessing’

December 3, 2018

Michelle Jester initially thought the email was a scam.

The Central Christian School educator was the grand prize winner of Crayola’s Thank a Teacher contest, it said.

Jester didn’t even know she had been nominated.

“It’s a huge blessing for a small school like this to receive the recognition and all the prizes we’re going to be awarded,” Jester said.

Central Christian teaches about 160 students through eighth grade in northeast Allen County near Interstate 469 and Indiana 37.

This marks Jester’s 10th year at the school, she said, and her first as its director of academics. She previously taught first grade.

Alumna Nicole Winans said she immediately thought of Jester when she learned of Crayola’s contest over the summer.

Winans : a Purdue University Fort Wayne student about to graduate with a mathematics teaching degree : has known Jester since kindergarten, and she became her colleague through teaching positions in recent years. She considers Jester a mentor.

“She always perseveres with a smile on her face,” Winans said. “I could not do her job with first-graders.”

For the contest, Winans submitted a handwritten thank-you note with a brief message amid sunny scenery of flowers and butterflies: “Thank you Mrs. Jester for helping us grow!” The entry will appear on Crayola packaging, an honor included in the grand prize package.

Prizes also include 9,000 value; a year supply of Crayola products for the school, a 1,000 gift cards for the school, Jester and Winans.

Winans, who had forgotten about the contest until the winner notification, recalled her reaction: “I think that I just won something big.”

Jester said she plans to use the money to benefit the whole school.

Administrator Julie Smith is thrilled for the unexpected accolades. It’s an honor for a member of her staff to receive recognition, she said.

“They all just work so hard,” Smith said.


Bishop Dwenger

• BBC 100 Women included Bishop Dwenger High School theology teacher Jessica Hayes on its list of 100 inspiring and influential women worldwide for 2018. Honorees range in age from 15 to 94 and represent more than 60 countries. It recognized Hayes for being a consecrated virgin : meaning she vows perpetual virginity as a bride of Christ : and her role as teacher and vocational adviser.


• Fort Wayne company Artemis International donated art supplies, ear buds and keyboards to Waynedale Elementary School.

Ivy Tech

• The Gene Haas Foundation awarded $10,000 to the Ivy Tech Foundation for scholarships to fund machine tool technology training at Ivy Tech Warsaw’s Orthopedic and Advanced Manufacturing Training Center. The training will help students learn skills for high-paying, high-demand careers in the advanced manufacturing industry. Graduates work in high-demand industries including orthopedics, automotive, aerospace, agriculture, consumer goods and recreation.


• Mistie Potts, assistant professor of educational psychology at Manchester University, took first place from the National Association for Gifted Children for her paper, “Self-perceived Creativity Across Grade Levels and Conditions.” The paper won the category for completed research at the doctorate level. The South Whitley resident teaches undergraduate courses in educational psychology, behavioral management and integrated methods, and a seminar focusing on authentic, innovative methods and practices of teaching.

• North Manchester campus faculty and staff will bring their dogs to work Dec. 11 for a student involvement event called “Manchester: Where the Pets Go.” The event will let students hang out with the pooches : and relieve some stress : during finals week. The university normally has at least one dog on campus each semester, part of the 4 Paws for Ability college dogs service program.

• Marwa Noureldin, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the Fort Wayne campus, has been selected to serve on the editorial board of the journal Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy.

• Pharmacotherapy, the journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, has named Michael Bottorff an outstanding reviewer. Bottorff is the Department of Pharmacy Practice chair. The publication’s scientific editors recognized Bottorff for the number of manuscripts he has reviewed and the quality of his reviews.


• Purdue University Fort Wayne announced a new Pantry Partner Program benefiting its campus food pantry, which has had more than 1,500 visits since opening last year. Partners can contribute at a Bronze (1,000) or Gold ($1,500) level. Open weekly when campus is open, The Pantry at Purdue Fort Wayne is a partner of Community Harvest Food Bank and a member of the College and University Food Bank Alliance. Visit www.pfw.edu/offices/student-life/food-pantry for more information, including how to donate online.


Students and parents who have a favorite teacher can nominate the individual for Teacher Honor Roll. Send nominations to The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email asloboda@jg.net.

To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email asloboda@jg.net at least two weeks before the desired publication date.

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