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First grade teacher earns Gresham-Barlow's top teaching award for 2020, gets 'Prize Patrol' style surprise

COURTESY PHOTO: GRESHAM-BARLOW SCHOOL DISTRICT  - Hope Newport, first grade teacher at Hollydale Elementary School, was named the Gresham-Barlow School District's best teacher of the year.

Hope Newport, a first grade teacher at Hollydale Elementary School, was honored as the Gresham-Barlow School District's Teacher of the Year for 2020.

"Putting into words what an honor it is to have received this is never easy for me," said Newport.

The Excellence in Teaching Award "celebrates teachers who excel in inspiring a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities," the district said of the award.

The Happy Valley resident has been teaching first, second and third grades at Hollydale since 2009. She also taught one year at Deep Creek Damascus K-8 School. Newport began her career in education as a special education assistant at East Gresham Elementary School.

Teachers are all working from home because of the stay-at-home orders to tamp down the COVID-19 pandemic. So Superintendent Katrise Perera, Hollydale Principal Debra James and Assistant Superintendent Lisa Riggs caught Newport at home, bringing balloons and flowers much like a Publisher's Clearing House Prize Patrol surprise.

"We want to thank you and recognize the great work you're doing at Hollydale," Perera told Newport at her front door.

Newport is a graduate of Eastern Oregon University and has a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Portland's Concordia University.

Newport said she was especially touched by her grandparents reaction to a video of the surprise honor on her porch. They recently moved to a small town in Kansas, but are extremely proud of their granddaughter, Newport said.

She wrote in an email: "I have never, not once, ever seen or even heard of my grandpa crying. That day he called me and baby-bawled with pride. To my family this is so much more than being recognized as "teacher of the year." My grandparents played an enormous role in raising me to be the first college graduate in my family. Being able to represent their hometown and be a part of such an incredible community is the greatest honor of all. I want to say thank you to the district, not just for recognizing me, but for giving my grandparents the greatest gift I ever could."

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