Craig Rotary Club bestows Humanitarian Award on Cheryl Arnett
Retired teacher’s global efforts enhance local learning
December 26, 2015
In the 21st century, it's easier than ever to reach out and connect with someone on the other side of the globe. That's the way Cheryl Arnett views the capabilities of the modern world, and that's partly why she's been given a big honor.
Arnett is the latest recipient of the Bill and Nancy Muldoon Humanitarian Award from Rotary Club of CraigRotary Club of Craig, an accolade given to someone within the community who devotes a significant portion of their time to charitable causes, education or anything that does a great deal of good at the local level., an accolade given to someone within the community who devotes a significant portion of their time to charitable causes, education or anything that does a great deal of good at the local level.
Rotary Club of Craig, an accolade given to someone within the community who devotes a significant portion of their time to charitable causes, education or anything that does a great deal of good at the local level.
In Arnett's case, she has helped open the eyes of Craig children to the big world around them, primarily through online initiatives during her time teaching at Sunset Elementary SchoolSunset Elementary School. The longtime educator retired at the end of the 2014-15 school year after teaching for 22 years with the school.. The longtime educator retired at the end of the 2014-15 school year after teaching for 22 years with the school.
Sunset Elementary School. The longtime educator retired at the end of the 2014-15 school year after teaching for 22 years with the school.
Arnett was responsible for numerous projects that aided students as well as other faculty within Moffat County School DistrictMoffat County School District in connecting with learners internationally. in connecting with learners internationally.
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Moffat County School District in connecting with learners internationally.
Among the happenings in her classroom were a pen pal program, studies of the Amazon rainforest and a discussion of the local deer populace that attracted national attention and was used in learning materials for the Smithsonian Institutelearning materials for the Smithsonian Institute..
It's her work in the cyber world that has been her focus in recent years, and it was what the Rotary Club invited her to speak about at its Dec. 15 meeting. A presentation by Arnett on making global connections soon led to her being shocked with the Humanitarian Award.
"It caught me totally off-guard, and I feel very honored to receive it," she said, adding that receiving the distinction from a group focused on education made it even more of an honor.
Arnett also happened to have a special guest that morning in attendance, Amanda Eleison, a fellow teacher visiting from Australia, whose family was recently visiting the United States. Over the years, Arnett has befriended educators from a myriad of countries, many of whom she was able to introduce to her pupils and get them to interact with a classroom thousands of miles from their home with the assistance of Skype, ePals and other online programs.
One of Arnett's favorite quotes is from global educational group Khan Academy founder Salman Khan: "The goal isn't to leave a better world for your kids, it's to leave better kids for the world."
"I think it's probably more important than ever to teach children about diversity and respect for others to find out how much we really do have in common in spite of the differences in our societies," she said. "To me, it's so uplifting to see kids learn the power that they have as small children to do something that improves the world."
Though she loved her career, the retirement stage of life has been a relief for Arnett.
"I didn't realize how much multitasking you do when you're a teacher, it's a 365, 24-hour a day job," she said.
Even so, she still isn't out of education entirely, blogging about techniques in the classroom and aiding other teachers in the use of technology to enhance students' experiences.
Former coworker Melany Neton was among those who nominated Arnett, along with Val Rohrich and Sue Goodenow.
"She's just such a positive part of the community," Neton said of her friend and colleague.
The nomination letter noted that Arnett has influenced many students and that "by expanding their world beyond Craig she has inspired them to a life-long love of learning and a yearning for more knowledge about the world in which they live."
Rotarian Randy Looper was pleased with the selection of Arnett, who will be recognized in a larger fashion at the club's Diamonds & Spurs, Jan. 30 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion, complete with dinner, dancing and a silent auction, open to formal or casual dress.
Tickets are $60, available at Elk Run Inn, the Craig Daily Press or through any Craig Rotary member.
"That presentation will be a great way to honor her," Looper said of the guest of honor. "You can dress in tuxes, dress in jeans, just have a great time."