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Mont Pleasant
Middle School

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MAY 11 2007

Walmart Honors  Schenectady Teacher
for Going Above and Beyond

Bernice Rivera is Named Regional Walmart Teacher of the Year

Wal-mart Manager Chip Plowman presents a check for $1000 to Wal-mart Teacher of the Year Bernice Rivera and Mont Pleasant Middle School Principal Gary Comley. 

Bernice Rivera, a 7th grade social studies teacher at Mont Pleasant Middle School was  named Wal-mart Teacher of the Year on Thursday, May 10 in the school auditorium.  Principal Gary Comley kept the news from being revealed to Rivera and nearly 800 students until a late afternoon announcement at the special school-wide assembly.    Two representatives from the Rotterdam Wal-mart were on hand to present Rivera with a store gift card and a check for $1000 to use at the school.

“I am humbled,” Rivera told the students who cheered and applauded after Chip Plowman, manager of the Rotterdam Walmart announced Rivera is the regional winner and was presented with the award. 

Plowman said the award recognizes educators who go above and beyond.  Rivera, who was also recently nominated for a Human Rights Commission award, certainly fits the bill. 

Rivera is not only respected as a teacher but she is known by her peers and students as a teacher who goes out of the way for the students even after the school day ends. 

“Bernice Rivera is a special teacher,” said Comley.  “Not only does she have command of her subject area, but she is also caring, passionate and understanding.”

Comley added, “Bernice involves students in a variety of activities beyond the classroom, keeping some students who would not be involved in school academically engaged in the learning process and behaving properly.” 

Rivera volunteers to help the school and her students.  She plans many school events and organizes an array of school programs including Black History Night and Hispanic Heritage Night.  Rivera also serves as an advisor to the school’s step group, dance squad and ballroom dance program

“I can’t think of a more deserving teacher,” said Comley.

According to Plowman, Rivera was nominated for the award by other teachers at the school.  Ballot boxes were located in each Wal-mart store.

In addition to a gift card and check, Rivera received a t-shirt, plaque and is eligible to enter the state-wide Wal-mart Teacher of the Year competition.

This year marks the 12th year of the Wal-mart Teacher of the Year program.  Wal-mart has honored more than 26,000 teachers and donated more than $5 million to schools across the country.