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Teacher recognitions begun 15 years ago by professor who witnessed coach's lesson


by Rachel Ely
KyForward contributor
 
The Teacher Who Made a Difference program has been recognizing teachers, coaches, principals and many others in Kentucky for 15 years thanks to Mary Ann Vimont.
 

Ramon Osorio (center) of Louisville was one of nearly 150 honorees in 2012 (Photo from UK)

Vimont, a University of Kentucky College of Education professor, created the program to honor nominated teachers for their contributions to their students. Vimont was inspired to start the program when she was visiting one of her student teachers at a local elementary school. “I went to the school looking for one of my students when I saw (former UK basketball coach) Tubby Smith talking to a gym full of students about the upcoming Kentucky testing and how important it was to do well in school. He had just won a National Championship, yet he was talking to 250 elementary students about doing well in school. That inspired me to start this program,” said Vimont.
 
The Teacher Who Made a Difference program has recognized teachers from kindergarten all the way to college professors. It’s not a competition but merely an avenue to award various teachers for all they do in the lives of their students, she said. “All you have to do is give us their name, address and write a little bit about the teacher who made a difference in your life and we’ll send them an invitation inviting them to our program,” said Vimont.
 
Although the deadline for nominations is March 1, the actual recognition ceremony doesn’t take place until April. All teachers nominated receive a plaque presented to them by the former student who submitted their name. This makes the moment even more special, said Vimont.
 
More than 17,000 teachers have been recognized in the 15 years. “The most important thing to a teacher is knowing they have made a difference,” said Vimont.
 
Rachel Ely is a University of Kentucky journalism student.


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