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One Class at a Time: Mackenzie Middle School teacher, Communities in Schools awarded $500

Updated: Mar. 31, 2021 at 10:25 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Mackenzie Middle School teacher Shelby Howell is the eighth 2020-2021 recipient of KCBD’s One Class At A Time $500 donation and recognition sponsored by Frontier Dodge and Spirit Chrysler.

“I’m very surprised,” Howell said. “I was raised in Lubbock ISD and I came through the system here, as well. I’m really excited. I didn’t know I made that much of an impact. I’m really excited that a family thought of me and considered me as somebody that’s really making an impact in their child’s life.”

Howell is in her second year as an educator and at the Lubbock ISD school. She began teaching at a time when a pandemic forced her and the students out of the classroom, however, the circumstance highlighted the exceptional care she gives to her students.

“We’re here to learn,” Howell said. “We’re here to educate them but we’re really here to be their support and to love them. Middle school is hard for everybody and sometimes they just need a little bit of extra love.”

The program gives the teacher a chance to choose a charity or non-profit organization that will also receive $500. Howell chose Communities in Schools of the South Plains, which also continues to be a vital resource for students and their families during trying times.

“Our specific campus person is Nicole Abbott and she does amazing things for our kids,” Howell said. “She provides food, clothes, transportation, help with families getting connected with medical and any other services they may need. During COVID she worked the hardest of anybody I know trying to make sure that families stayed connected and families that didn’t have electricity or water because they were laid off or internet, she worked really hard to make sure that she could give them everything possible to make sure they were successful and well taken care of.”

Danielle Uranga is the Director of Marketing and Development for Communities in Schools. She tells KCBD that Communities in Schools works to bridge the gap between what a school can provide and what students and their families need.

“We can come in and we can provide weekend food bags,” Uranga said. “We can provide tutoring outside of what the teachers can provide. We can get that mental health support. The teachers and the administrators, they want to provide those things, but for various different reasons they’re unable to. That’s where Communities in Schools comes in, takes over and helps the students break down those barriers to help them succeed.”

Uranga said $500 can ensure that people like Nicole can have what they need to support our local schools.

“Our mission is to surround students with a community of support, but that includes the teachers and the administrators,” Uranga said. “Being recognized with this award just really means that we’re putting the right people on our campuses.”

Howell said she’s grateful for the opportunity to be a part of a community that can give to her students what she received when she was in their shoes.

“It just means a lot to me that I get to love these kids,” Howell said. “That’s why I want to stay being a teacher and work with these kids for a while just to love them and be the person that I needed and was there for me when I was their age.”

To nominate a teacher for One Class at a Time, click here.

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