La PORTE — The La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership (LEAP) brought the community together in celebration of this year’s new teachers.

Educators and administrators from La Porte, New Prairie, South Central, Tri-Township, New Durham and La Lumiere schools were honored during LEAP’s New Teachers luncheon at The Allure in La Porte on Thursday.

Bert Cook, executive director of LEAP, welcomed the teachers in crowded venue by saying, “we appreciate all that you do to make La Porte a special place. In fact, we host this event every year and each time our business community steps up to support each and every educator.”

The gathering of pedagogues afforded the chamber the opportunity to recognize 2019’s teacher and student of the year. Each recipient was given a cash prize and awarded a plaque for their outstanding efforts.

Recognized this year was La Porte High School’s Virtual Learning Academy Coordinator, Amy Jackson. LPHS Principal Ben Tonagel spoke to Jackson’s impact on her students success.

“A high school diploma is the cornerstone of being a productive member of a community," Tonagel said. "In light of the new Indiana Graduation Pathways, now more than ever, a high school diploma also signifies the understanding and development of employability skills and the readiness to work.

He went on, “Amy works every day to help students that are facing barriers to this success. She does so with grace, patience and with a firm guidance that students respect and appreciate. She provides a safe learning environment in the face of extraordinarily difficult circumstances. As her virtual learning academy and alternative education program continues to grow in demand, I have been impressed with her vision for the future and her convictions to always do what is best for her students and their success.”

Jackson received a cash award of $1,000 from LEAP in recognition of her hard work and dedication to the students of La Porte High School.

Carley Hobbs, a student of La Porte High School, was honored as LEAP’s student of the year. In her time at the school Hobbs maintained a 4.0 GPA, as well as perfect attendance. She has also received the Governor’s Work Ethic Certificate.

Tonagel was able to help in Hobbs’ progression into the work force. He gave insight into the effort she put in to get to this point.

“I worked closely with Carly as she crafted her resume and prepared for her First Source Bank interviews," Tonagel said. "I was thoroughly impressed with her effective communication skills, positive attitude and the initiative she took to seek out this opportunity.”

He spoke to her accomplishments, “Carley was hired on at First Source Bank to participate in their Step to the Future Apprenticeship Program. This highly competitive program offered at La Porte High School provides leadership training, networking opportunities, and continuing education while employed with the bank. She was one of two apprentices hired from La Porte High School, beating out eight other qualified candidates in a challenging interview process.”

Hobbs was presented with a cash award of $500 from the La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership for her incredible academic performance, as well as a plaque recognizing her as “Student of the Year 2019.”

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