Third-grade teacher Wendy Scharich was honored for her work inside and outside the classroom

It was Eccles third-grade teacher Wendy Scharich who came away with the Canby Area Recognition of Excellence Award in February.

Every month, Canby Kiwanis and Canby School District honor a district staff member with this award. Canby Kiwanis established it to provide opportunities to recognize individual teachers, counselors, coaches and other school staff who make a difference in the lives of others and in the community.

The prospective recipients must be nominated, and the honoree is then decided by a CARE committee made up of members from Kiwanis and the community.

Scharich was honored at the February school board meeting, where Superintendent Trip Goodall and Eccles Principal Andy McKean made it clear her teaching style is both unique and beloved.

Earlier in the week, Goodall had surprised Sharich with the award in the presence of her students.

"So when we walked in and the kids were kind of wondering what was going on," Goodall said, "and then when we made the announcement…number one, you got the big rousing applause, which is wonderful; but the expressions on the faces of every kid, like really just so happy for you, is really telling about how they care for you.

"They were doing all these kinds of facial expressions that made me think that as unique as you are, I think you really foster a sense of uniqueness in your students," Goodall continued. "I think you really encourage them to be who they are, and that was really incredible for me to see."

COURTESY PHOTO: CSD - Eccles Principal Andy McKean (left) shares about CARE Award winner Wendy Scharich (second from right). Others pictured from left to right are Superintendent Trip Goodall and Kiwanis's Marilyn Wood and Brenda Griffin.

McKean detailed some of this "uniqueness."

"Wendy just has a really fun atmosphere in her classroom," McKean said. "You've heard her now referenced as 'the evil teacher,' and she does have a persona, and she's just very playful with her kids. It's a wonderful learning environment, but it's just a fun environment as well. Kids really enjoy her.

"Both of my daughters had her, and they recall some of the different features of your classroom," McKean went on. "There's a skeleton that hangs in Mrs. Scharich's classroom, and I believe it's referred to as a former student."

Scharich is not only known for her work in the classroom, but also outside of it. She heads up a scrapbooking club with Eccles students, has done grant-writing for a school courtyard and even gives McKean tips on how he can improve, McKean quipped.

Scharich received a plaque and a gift basket from local businesses in recognition of her work. Local sponsors of the CARE Award include Canby Kiwanis, State Farm Insurance-Matt Olsen, Columbia Bank, DirectLink, The Wild Hare, Backstop Bar & Grill, Rice Time, The Human Bean, Cutsforth Marketplace, Gwynn's Coffeehouse, Team Spirit and Puddin' River Chocolates.

To nominate someone who you believe is deserving of the CARE Award, nomination forms can be found on the district's website.

Kristen Wohlers
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