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Child care foundation honors six Air Force teachers

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --

Six child development center teachers from U.S. Air Force installations recently received special honors.

Elizabeth Peralta at Aviano Air Base, Italy; Jennifer Miller at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado; Heidi Sowers at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota; Michele Diane Southall at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota; Helen Ceres McCrae at Misawa AB, Japan; and Junko Collazo Offutt AFB, Nebraska, won the 2017 Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children’s Tylenol National Child Care Teacher Award.

The annual award recognizes 50 child care teachers in providing quality early care and education. Each recipient receives $500 for personal use and another $500 for classroom supplies.

The winners will be honored in an award ceremony May 6 in Philadelphia.

“Each of our child development center teachers are dedicated educators committed to building and sustaining ready and resilient Airmen and their families,” said Jon Grammer, director of programs for the Air Force Services Activity. “This award recognizes their hard work.”

Also, Southall is a top 10 finalist for the Helene Marks Award, given to the child care teacher of the year. Southall scored in the top 10 for answering a series of questions whose scores were based on a rubric. She also submitted an essay titled “Summer Garden,” a potential project that focuses on teaching children to grow and track the progress of a garden while writing about their experiences.

“It means a lot to me to win this award,” said Southall, who started working at the Grand Forks AFB Child Development Center in 1998. “I still am in a little bit of shock that I won, but it is slowly sinking in. It is nice to be recognized for the job you do every day. I love my job, and I do it because I enjoy the children, but a pat on the back for doing a good job is appreciated.”