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Ninety-One School kindergarten/1st grade teacher Alyson Ensrud was selected for her outstanding generosity and more

To let kindergarten/1st grade teacher Alyson Ensrud know she was being honored with this month's Canby Area Recognition of Excellence Award, Superintendent Trip Goodall ventured all the way out to the Ninety-One School garden.

There, he announced Ensrud as the winner in front of a crowd of Ensrud's students.

"We have such a great teacher right here with Mrs. Ensrud, and I wanted to tell you guys that she is going to get the CARE Award for this month," Goodall said. "It's for this kind of work that she does, where she takes the time to come out here and help you guys learn about things like gardening, and pruning and rocks and sunflowers."

When she learned she had won, and that it may have had to do with her work in the garden, Ensrud was quick to share the credit.

"It's definitely a team effort," Ensrud said. "We have excellent volunteers. We have people that are super passionate about this program and about keeping kids in nature and gardening. So thank you for the honor, but thanks to everybody who's behind it also."

She would soon find out her recognition was about so much more than her garden work.

Every month, Canby Kiwanis and Canby School District honor a district staff member like Ensrud 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 is then decided by a CARE committee made up of members from Kiwanis and the community.

Ensrud was nominated by a fellow Ninety-One staff member, Counselor Colby Scheer. In his nomination, he did point out Ensrud's dedication to the school garden and to teaching her students about agriculture. He also described how well she connects with students and how much students adore her.

But he also shared about how Ensrud is always the first one to step up and help students who may have needs like food, clothing and housing.

"She recently made contacts on her own time with outside businesses so that one of our homeless students and their family might be able to cook food in their temporary shelter," Scheer said in the nomination letter. "She also organized the gathering and delivery of much-needed grocery items to this family over a long weekend."

COURTESY PHOTO: CSD - Alyson Ensrud, center, receives the CARE Award at the May school board meeting.

Ninety-One Principal Skyler Rodolph too shared about Ensrud's exceptional kindness when she was honored later at the May school board meeting.

"Without going into specifics, she's really taken a family who needed some support in our community and helped rally some support with teachers and staff to be able to take care of this family and walk beside them through a difficult time," Rodolph said. "And that's one of the things that stands out for me is her heart for others and how giving she is to everybody. So, it is a well-deserved award, and I couldn't congratulate you enough."

Ensrud 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 here.

Kristen Wohlers
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