By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
BETTENDORF —Lourdes Catholic School teacher Miranda Lawrence received the first Elbert K. Fretwell Outstanding Educator Award from Illowa Boy Scout Council on April 22. It is the highest honor given to an educator from the Boy Scouts of America, said the scouting leader who nominated her.
Brian Girskis, committee chair for Pack 199 of Our Lady of Lourdes, said he nominated Lawrence for a variety of reasons. “Our team is successful because of leaders like Mrs. Lawrence — she lives the oath and law daily. As a parent of multiple students at Lourdes, I have seen the positive impact she has made on children, including my own. I cannot think of a better person to receive this award.”
Lawrence has been involved in scouting for years but Girskis said her teaching was the primary driver for his nomination. Educators do not need to be involved in scouting to receive the award, he noted.
Lawrence has been a den leader for Cub Scouts, served on the pack committee and is a member on the troop committee (BSA).
Award recipients must demonstrate outstanding characteristics, positively impact students’ and school staff’s lives, improve the school’s culture, model ethical and moral values, and serve others in school activities outside the primary duties of the educator’s job.
Lawrence, the school’s technology teacher/technology coordinator for grades Pre-K through eighth, said she felt honored to be the first person recognized by the Illowa Council for the national award. “I know that there are so many other educators in our council who work to instill the values of scouting in our youth as well, and I look forward to sharing this honor with all of the deserving educators who will receive this award in the years to come.”
“The principles of scouting go hand in hand with the values that we instill in our students at Catholic schools. I love that I have the opportunity to instill these values in our youth both inside the classroom and throughout their scouting journey. I am blessed to be able to work with such wonderful children both at Lourdes and in scouts, and I am so grateful to be recognized for doing what I love every day.”
Lourdes Principal Jennifer Alongi said Lawrence has been her lead recess supervisor. “She often steps in to be the ‘teacher in charge’ when I need to be out of the building. Miranda is that teacher who stays late at work all the time, and who steps up to volunteer to help out wherever needed, even if it means she has to rearrange her schedule.”
Lawrence also has led the school’s Sunshine Committee for many years. “She and another teacher took the lead in 2014 to train our staff on FAST testing, which was new to Lourdes at that time. She attended training on her own time over the summer, and helped get all of us trained.”
She also volunteers annually at the Father Ken Martin Golf Outing, which raises money for emergency scholarships for students in Scott County Catholic schools.
The Elbert K. Fretwell Outstanding Educator Award honors individuals “who work in education and who follow the BSA’s mission ‘to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.’” Fretwell served as the second Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) from 1943 to 1948.