Few people were in on the secret Friday afternoon at East Elementary School.
Students and teachers were gathered in the gym for an impromptu assembly without any clue about its purpose, and it wasn’t long before one of the staff in attendance got the surprise of her life.
Tiffany Trevenen received the Peabody Energy Leaders in Education Award for her work as the literacy coordinator for East, as well as her years of service to Moffat County School District. The presentation involved the recipient’s name literally being spelled out for everyone.
Only minutes before the ceremony, Principal Sarah Hepworth gathered eight students to stand on stage and hold up each of the letters in “Trevenen,” each representing a different attribute, including being “terrific,” “extra special,” and “very, very, very, very, very excited.”
The letters were jumbled at first, but it didn’t take the guest of honor long to realize they were talking about her.
“I’m the only teacher who’s got a million E’s in my name, so it had to be me,” Trevenen laughed.
Trevenen couldn’t help but get caught in the emotional rush heading to the front of the cheering crowd, experiencing tears of joy as she was greeted by her husband Jeff, Hepworth and Peabody representative Scott Harrell.
A gift basket was just part of the presentation, as Harrell gave her an oversized check for $1,000, letting students “help” Trevenen earn the money in increments of $250 by answering questions about Peabody’s role in producing energy.
The kids were pretty energized themselves, many of them swarming the teacher afterward to give her a congratulatory hug and to jokingly ask how she would fit the giant document in her wallet.
Trevenen has been part of the district since 1990, starting as a kindergarten teacher at Sunset Elementary School before moving to East and teaching multiple grade levels there. She became the school’s literacy coordinator three years ago, a job which involves working with any students that might need extra help in reading or math and collaborating with teachers on their work in the classroom.
She also has been involved with the program Girls on the Run and recently was part of the group of educators who evaluated the candidates for the superintendent position.
A press release from Peabody noted Trevenen’s “leadership within the school community” as one of the reasons she was selected after being nominated by Hepworth.
“She’s been an advocate to our schools for all these years, and you’d still think she’s in her first or second year of teaching because she’s so excited to learn how to be better all the time,” Hepworth said. “Even before I was principal, she was always an informal leader and willing to go the extra mile to solve problems, and now she’s a formal leader as our reading specialist. She’s always strived for excellence.”
Trevenen got choked up speaking about her colleagues, any one of whom would be worthy of an award in her view, leaving her feeling humbled about the recognition.
“It’s nice to hear somebody else say you work hard, but we all work hard, and I don’t want people to think I’m anything different than what they’re all doing,” she said.
She added that she plans to nominate staff members herself, now that she knows how the process works.
“Hopefully everybody at East can get a check for $1,000,” she said.
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.