The Coburg School District in Iowa closed over 50 years ago but its memory lives on through the Coburg Historical Society which sponsors an award annually to an elementary instructor in the Essex, Stanton or Red Oak school districts who shows a deep commitment to their students and their profession. The three schools encompass the former Coburg district.
Dr. Stan Sibley, on behalf of the Coburg Historical Society, was in Essex on Sept. 16 to surprise a deserving teacher during a school assembly to present the Mabel Griffith Excellence in Elementary Teaching award. The deserving teacher was Kerry McBride.
“A few years ago, former students, the Coburg alumni, got together and started talking about their favorite teachers, “Sibley said. “One teacher’s name kept coming up over and over again. Her name was Mabel Griffith. I asked them what made Mrs. Griffith so special. They said that she was very kind, loving and made every child feel special. So, we decided to form an award for a specific teacher that is representative of all those fine qualities. So, I am here today to award the Mabel Griffith Excellent in Elementary Teaching to one of your teachers, Mrs. Kerry McBride.”
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An emotional McBride gratefully accepted the honor.
“I come here every day to help you do math and reading better,” McBride said to her students. “That’s all it is -- it’s not work. I enjoy every day here because of all of you. You kids are wonderful -- I love every one of you, so thank you very much.”
Sibley congratulated and thanked McBride for everything she has done in the past and all she will do in the future.
“I feel so honored to be chosen for this award,” McBride said. “I don’t expect any pats on the back when I go to work every day. In fact, it doesn’t even feel like work to me, it’s just what I really enjoy doing. I feel that being a teacher is one of the most important jobs out there, and being recognized for what I love doing is very humbling.”
She credits her former teachers and her co-workers as being indispensable mentors for her over the years.
McBride is in her 32nd year of teaching and her 18th year of teaching in Essex. She currently teaches Title 1 reading and math, but has also taught first and second grades in Essex. McBride received a plaque and a $1,000 monetary gift.