UCC Teacher Receives National Award

by Jay Wintermeyer

Roberts receiving her Excellence in Teaching award.

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho, May 31, 2012 - Anita Roberts, the third and fourth grade teacher at Lake City Junior Academy, was presented with a national award Thursday, May 31. The award includes a $2,000 gift and medallion.

Roberts is among 10 teachers selected this spring by the Alumni Awards Foundation (AAF) to receive a 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award. AAF is a foundation that supports Seventh-day Adventist schools in North America.

“If you were to ask Anita Roberts what makes her exceptional in her field, she would look at you questioningly,” said Ron Jacaban, Lake City Junior Academy (LCJA) principal. Roberts does not feel that she has “made it” to the top of her field, although many would argue otherwise. “It is a daunting task to compile the numerous ways Anita has brought excellence to our school,” said Jacaban. “Her attitude has shaped the culture of our school resulting in an enrollment increase over the past several years.”

“We consider her ‘best in class’ so to speak,” said Larry Marsh, Upper Columbia Conference vice president for education. 

Inspired by her personal journey in losing 200 pounds, health instruction is a key component of Roberts’ mission. She has designed a “Fitness Expedition: Project Healthy Kids” curriculum that promotes a lifestyle of exercise and nutrition for her students. The curriculum is also available through Walla Walla University.

In the classroom, Roberts has an experiential learning philosophy that makes learning fun and effective. She takes her students to many exciting destinations such as Spokane Symphony, Carver Farms, Kellogg Silver Mine, historic Cataldo Mission, IMAX films, and hands-on art pottery studio. 

Roberts’ “Book of the Month” program is a highly anticipated experience for students at LCJA. Students get to choose a character from their book and present from that character’s perspective. “The art, writing, and presentation skills learned provide a solid foundation for future success,” said Jacaban.

Roberts was chosen to be one of UCC’s lead teachers for the new Pathways language arts program and was responsible for training other teachers in the conference on how to implement it. 

“I wanted to change the world and begin the change in my classroom,” Roberts said. “I deem it a privilege and honor to serve my Savior in an Adventist school.”

Nominated by principals, superintendents, colleagues, and former students, 10 teachers were be celebrated across the nation for the impact they have had in their local Seventh-day Adventist schools. 

AAF is a nonprofit organization working to improve Adventist K-12 education. It has awarded grants totaling more than $2 million to Adventist schools and educators. Since its establishment in 1995, the organization has recognized 106 exceptional teachers with an Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2011, AAF refocused and created the Renaissance Network, an initiative that improves the level of excellence in Adventist schools by providing leadership expertise, vision, resources and training. AAF aims to awaken the Adventist community to the full potential in Adventist education. Learn more at AlumniAwards.org. For more information please contact Kaleigh Benge: kbenge@alumniawards.org.