Lee Elementary students dressed in ties to surprise this month's award winner-teacher Brian Huggins

COURTESY PHOTO: CANBY SCHOOL DISTRICT - Brian Huggins (left) receives the CARE Award from Superintendent Trip Goodall.

This month, Lee Elementary students and staff (most of them wearing ties) gathered in the school gymnasium to surprise May's Canby Area Recognition of Excellence Award recipient: Lee fourth grade teacher Brian Huggins.

"I like your guys' ties," Huggins said after the cheering died down. "That's very cool."

Superintendent Trip Goodall was there to participate in the surprise and to make the announcement.

"It's always good to be at Lee Elementary because there's so many incredible people that work here, great kids, and I am so proud to announce today, with our partners from Kiwanis, that Mr. Huggins is being given the CARE Award for this month—the most exceptional award that we have in our district," Goodall said.

Canby Kiwanis, whose mission is to serve the children of Canby, established the CARE Award to provide a monthly opportunity to recognize individual teachers, counselors, coaches and other school staff who make a difference in the lives of others and in the community. The recipients are decided by a CARE committee made up of members from Kiwanis and the community.

Lee staff member Kandi Stegmeier nominated Huggins for the award this month because of the way he goes above and beyond not only as a teacher, but as a community member.

"If you're having a bad day and run into him, he's guaranteed to change your day," Stegmeier's submission read.

She continued, "Even 20 years ago, Mr. Huggins stood out to my kids as he always had a smile on his face and he is always so welcoming to everyone. He is not only a teacher, but was a basketball coach for Canby and he built those girls' confidence so high. My daughter, who is now 21, talks about her coach and how he was awesome. He never cared if they lost; he always encouraged them and that's what kids need these days to make the world a happy place."

Huggins was also honored at the monthly school board meeting, and he received a plaque and rewards from local businesses in recognition of his efforts. Local sponsors of the CARE Award include: Canby Kiwanis, Columbia Bank, DirectLink, The Wild Hare, Backstop Bar & Grill, Rice Time, The Human Bean, Cutsforth's Thriftway, Gwynn's Coffeehouse, and Team Spirit.

To nominate someone for the CARE Award, nomination forms can be found on the district's website.

Kristen Wohlers
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