Cambridge Springs Elementary School third-grade teacher Anthony Jardina is congratulated by his students after being named the Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year.
gets teacher of year award
was called forward and then awarded a regional Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year award, a $100 gift card to buy supplies for his
class and a $1,000 grant for Cambridge Springs Elementary School
, the third-grade teacher was speechless and paused for a moment before speaking.
He is first teacher in PENNCREST School District to receive the honor, district officials said.
now will be one of a small pool of educators to be considered for Wal-Mart's statewide honor.
"I am truly humbled," he
said and then apologized for "all of the emotion."
Fighting back the tears, he
thanked the children and said "every teacher dreams about being the best of the best."
Keith Eberle, co-manager, and Sonja Nekoloff, the community involvement coordinator, both of the Edinboro Wal-Mart, presented the award and prizes to Jardina.
Jardina said years ago he had been nominated by seniors at Cambridge Springs High School for being "the teacher who most inspired them to succeed."
"When I found out that they had chosen me for that honor, I thought that I had reached the pinnacle of pinnacles," he
Reflecting back on his
own youth, he
cannot imagine doing anything else more fulfilling.
"I wasn't the best student, I grew up in the projects in Johnstown," he said.
"But then I met a teacher who then became a mentor and told me that I could be whatever I wanted; and I believed them."
, who is one of three triplets in his
family, was in the first generation of his
family to graduate from college.
sister is a nurse and his
brother is also a teacher.
"I can't remember ever wanting to be anything else but a teacher," he said.