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District gives two awards this month to Kara Dewar and Kristin Watts of Carus Elementary School

PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Pictured from left to right are Carus Principal Sam Thompson, Kara Dewar, Kristin Watts and Superintendent Trip Goodall.

This month, it wasn't just one Canby School District staffer, but two who were honored with the Canby Area Recognition of Excellence Award.

The award went to a team at Carus Elementary School: Kara Dewar, an intervention specialist, and Kristin Watts, a behavior instructional assistant.

"It's usually a singular award," said Superintendent Trip Goodall at the February school board meeting where the two were honored. "But as you can see tonight, we have two baskets and two plaques."

Every month, Canby Kiwanis and Canby School District honor a district staff member with this CARE 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, or sometimes honorees, are then decided by a CARE committee made up of members from Kiwanis and the community.

In this case, the nominator could hardly wait to get this award in the pair's hands. Both Dewar and Watts are new to the school, and Principal Sam Thompson described how quickly their efforts were noticed.

"Kara started in our building just this fall," Thompson said to a crowd gathered at the school board's February meeting. "Somebody came to me, I swear it was still September, and they said, 'I'd like to nominate Kara for the CARE Award. What do you think?' And I said, 'Well, you might want to give her a little bit of time.'

"Like, let's see how this goes," he joked. "It's going really well."

Thompson and Goodall both pointed out that the two work well as a team, hence the double award.

"I want to let everybody know what a truly strong team you are," Thompson said. "I think you make each other better. You certainly make our building better. The difference you've made in our building in the climate and culture for kids is palpable. You walk down our hallways and you see that, and you two are a really large part of that."

Thompson also spoke to Dewar's and Watts's humor, positivity, vision and more.

"I think the fact that it's a team is totally appropriate," he said.

At the meeting, as the February recipients of Kiwanis's and the district's CARE Award, Dewar and Watts received the afore-mentioned plaques and gift baskets from local businesses.

Local sponsors of the CARE Award include Canby Kiwanis, Hot Rod Dreamworks, State Farm Insurance-Matt Olsen, Columbia Bank, DirectLink, The Wild Hare, Backstop Bar & Grill, Rice Time, Gwynn's Coffeehouse, Swan Island Dahlias, Puddin' River Chocolates and Glenmore Farms.

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

Kristen Wohlers
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