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
“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
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
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.