Vedder teacher surprised with prestigious award

Marion G. Vedder Elementary School teacher Jennifer Kreuscher thought she was heading to her school’s auditorium for an afternoon storytelling event. Instead, what she received was the surprise of a lifetime.

With her husband and five children in attendance, Kreuscher was presented with the Helen Bach Moss Memorial Better Beginnings Award, which annually recognizes one elementary school teacher who exhibits exemplary caring towards students and is a standout role model in the community.

Kreuscher, who was selected as the winner out of a pool of candidates throughout New York State, was escorted by Principal Kerry Larke to an auditorium full of district administration, students and faculty members — all of whom screamed “surprise” as soon as she entered the room. Also in attendance were state Department of Education Regent Roger Tilles and Dr. Michael Moss, the husband of Helen Bach, an elementary school teacher who passed away in 1988.

“She works hard every single day and goes the distance every day,” Larke said of Kreuscher. “She never gives up on her students, she works hard, and she is dedicated to her students and their families.”

Kreuscher has taught first grade for 21 years and was nominated for the award by Larke, parents, students, teachers and PTA members. They submitted letters of recommendation for Kreuscher to the state Department of Education, and they vouched for the difference she has made in their lives.

“I was delighted to learn that Jennifer Kreuscher was selected as the recipient of the Better Beginnings Award,” Superintendent of Schools Pat Godek said. “She is highly effective in all she undertakes in the classroom, as well as with parents and colleagues.   She is creative, hardworking, knowledgeable and dedicated, and has provided a wonderful educational experience for the many first graders she has taught. There could not be a teacher more deserving of this honor. “

“She helped me to become confident in myself,” student Alessandra Papaleo wrote in her letter of her former teacher. “In her challenging me academically, I grew as a student by becoming smarter and as a person, more secure in who I am. She is a loving and nurturing teacher whom I will always remember.”

“When I was your age, I knew I wanted to be a teacher,” Kreuscher said to the children in the auditorium after she received her award, “What I want to do in life is make a difference, and I’ve enjoyed every single second of it.”