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Shoultes Elementary teacher named STAR 101.5 FM 'Teacher of the Week'

Shoultes Elementary first-grade teacher Carolyn Clark, left, is presented with an oversized check by student Jonathan Riggs, center front, while STAR 101.5 FM afternoon show co-hosts Corine McKenzie, center back, and Curt Kruse, right, present her with a
Shoultes Elementary first-grade teacher Carolyn Clark, left, is presented with an oversized check by student Jonathan Riggs, center front, while STAR 101.5 FM afternoon show co-hosts Corine McKenzie, center back, and Curt Kruse, right, present her with a 'Teacher of the Week' plaque March 27.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Shoultes Elementary first-grade teacher Carolyn Clark and her students received a welcome surprise in their classroom on the morning of March 27.

Curt Kruse and Corine McKenzie, co-hosts of the afternoon show on STAR 101.5 FM, arrived to inform Clark that one of her students, Jonathan Riggs, had nominated her for the radio station's "Teacher of the Week" program.

Although Riggs was slightly shy about giving his reasons in front of the KOMO 4 TV cameras that were also in attendance, his mom, Tiffani Mondares-Riggs, explained that her son had written a letter to STAR 101.5, explaining how kind Clark was, how often she led the class in singing the school's "Sharky Dance," and that she tells them at the end of every school day, "I love you, no matter what."

Leslie Katz, promotions coordinator for the radio station, noted that the winning entries are largely chosen at random, but added that she liked the fact that Riggs "really seemed to like his teacher." Katz joined Kruse and McKenzie in dispensing goodie bags with STAR 101.5 T-shirts, Starbucks gift cards, plastic Slinkys, and servings of apple slices, caramel dip and juice from McDonald's. As for Clark herself, not only did she receive a "Teacher of the Week" plaque from Trophies2Go.com, but she was also handed an oversized check for $100 from the Washington State Employees Credit Union.

Clark plans to ask her students how the $100 should be used, with an eye toward donating it to a program that would benefit the whole of Shoultes Elementary. Even as she considered these plans, the 23-year veteran of teaching laughed and expressed her shock at receiving such an honor.

"I'm a bit overwhelmed," said Clark, who has taught at Shoultes Elementary for four years. "I'm only as good was the teachers down the hall from me, because I've been surrounded by their support every day. These kids are awesome," she said of her 22 students. "The energy these guys have, every single day, propels me through my days. Even when you're having a bad day, they're just so happy to be alive. I think I've learned as much from them as they've learned from me."

As her students performed the "Shark Dance" for the KOMO 4 cameras, in honor of the school mascot, Clark accepted her award "on behalf of everyone at Shoultes Elementary."

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