Holly Walker is Excel Award winner because she never gives up on students



Posted on March 17, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 15 at 1:23 PM

(WHAS11) - There are few Excel Award ceremonies that attract as many people as the Elizabethtown Independent school system.

And again, on March 4, the high school gymnasium was full of people to honor special education teacher Holly Walker. She is called an educator without boundaries.

WHAS11 News' Gary Roedemeier made the presentation in Elizabethtown.

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He said,"I knew I was going to like Holly Walker, when she told me just before the Excel Award presentation not to be nervous.

Holly is an unconventional teacher and person, who can change her approach to special education on a day-to-day basis. But this day was her day to be honored.

Elizabethtown is a tough place to win an Excel Award. And in a gymnasium full of students and great teachers, Holly Walker got a Teacher of the Year award that she dreamed about as a freshman in college.

The moment finally came because Holly Walker just never gives up on students.

She is an excel winner because of students like Zach Rawlings. Despite the challenges he faces in life, Zach faced hundreds of classmates to tell about his favorite teacher; Holly Walker has made a difference in his life.

Zach said, "Mrs. Walker makes learning fun and never gives up on us."

She never gives up, and Holly Walker is always trying something new to reach her kids. She said, "I think my approaches change everyday; from what might work with Zach for example today, may not work for Zach tomorrow. So everyday, we tweak things, change things."

What results is a constantly innovative way of working with special needs students until they get it; and Holly keeps working until they do.

It was something her first-grade teacher spotted in Florida, when Holly was a very inquisitive 6-year-old. So that teacher actually flew in from Florida to see her favorite student honored. "She wants them to be themselves. She wants them to achieve, to have life skills. She wants to support and encourage them and be there when they need it," she said.

And for ten-years, Holly has been there for her special students. "It just needs somebody who cares enough to realize that there are differences and that's ok. And that teaching one person to add, one person to divide, and one person to count coins and one person to count up to 300; and so it's ok."

She teaches a wide range of students, with a wide range of abilities, but in Holly Walker's class, in the end, it's all ok.

Holly Walker also received a $1,000 Teacher Grant from the Excel sponsor EON-US.

Web story published by Chris Wright