Nation’s Top Teachers Selected for VFW Award

- 3/27/2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (March 26, 2019) – The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is
proud to announce the top three teachers selected in its 2019 Smart/Maher VFW
National Citizenship Education Teacher Award contest.
Each year, the VFW names one teacher from the elementary (K-5), middle (6-8) and
high school (9-12) levels to receive the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship
Education Teacher Award. Established in 1999, the award recognizes our nation’s top
teachers for their exceptional commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to
their students by promoting civic responsibility, flag etiquette and patriotism in
the classroom. The award is named after former VFW National Commander John Smart and
retired VFW Quartermaster General Larry Maher.

Bobbie Schamens, a fourth-grade teacher at Meadowview Intermediate School in Sparta,
Wisc., was named the elementary school winner for her efforts in recognizing the
service and sacrifice of her hometown’s military families. Schamens’ personal
experience as a military spouse has helped her teach students civic responsibility,
patriotism and proper flag etiquette. She organizes cards for military care packages
and recognizes local military and veteran families with a military tribute case near
her classroom. Schamens’ students also visit the state capital to experience history
and our government first hand.

Representing the middle school level is Anne Martin, a seventh-grade language arts
and social studies teacher at Williams Middle School in Tracy, Calif. She was
selected because over her 24-year career, Martin has used her experience as a Gold
Star family member to help her students and community better understand the
sacrifices made by America’s military and veteran families. Martin’s work includes
organizing school-wide campaigns to collect donations and thank you letters for
deployed troops, and coordinating the school’s annual Patriot Day celebration which
includes a patriotic door-decorating contest. She also oversees the school’s
Associated Student Body elections, helping students understand and navigate the
democratic process.

Kevin Wagner, an advanced placement history teacher at Carlisle High School in
Carlisle, Penn., was chosen to represent the high school level for his dedication to
honoring the memory of America’s veterans. Through his "Silent Heroes” project,
students explore the life and service of a local World War II veteran killed at
Normandy and create a webpage preserving their legacy. Last year Wagner’s project
expanded to identify local Vietnam War veterans, leading to the construction of a
Vietnam Wall of Honor which displays the names of more than 213 veterans and 10 flag
cases in honor of the former students killed during the war.

"In all my years with the VFW, I’ve never come across a group of teachers more
committed to recognizing the sacrifices of our service men and women while
instilling America’s younger generations with an appreciation and understanding of
what patriotism really means,” said VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence. "We’re
honored to recognize teachers like Bobbie, Anne and Kevin who help perpetuate the
values and freedoms we hold so dear.”

Each teacher will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Orlando, Fla., where they will
each be presented with a $1,000 award for professional development and $1,000 for
their school during the 120th VFW National Convention, July 20-24.

Nominate a teacher you
at your local VFW Post, or find out more information on the Smart/Maher VFW National
Citizenship Education Teacher


About the VFW: The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is the nation's largest and
oldest major war veterans organization. Founded in 1899, the
congressionally-chartered VFW is comprised entirely of eligible veterans and
military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces. With more than
1.6 million VFW and Auxiliary members located in 6,200 Posts worldwide, the
nonprofit veterans service organization is proud to proclaim "NO ONE DOES MORE FOR
VETERANS” than the VFW, which is dedicated to veterans’ service, legislative
advocacy, and military and community service programs. For more information or to
join, visit our website at<>.

Media Contact: Randi K. Law, communications manager,<>

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