Teacher Named Finalist for H-E-B Education Award

High School Teacher Named Finalist for H-E-B Education Award
Posted on 02/20/2020
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Clear Lake High School Career and Technical Education Teacher Laura Dunham got an unexpected surprise this Wednesday, February 20, 2020.

Surrounded by enthusiastic students and supportive staff, she was named a finalist in the 2020 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards, a program that spotlights best practices and celebrates the passion and creativity of Texas educators. Finalists and their schools receive separate $1,000 checks in prize money and the finalists will go on to compete against other educators at the state level. Winners will be announced in May.

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But according to her principal David Drake, this is no surprise at all.

“She is passionate about her subject matter and she is passionate about her students,” he said. “She has a gift for capturing her students’ hearts and she exemplifies the core values we want all our kids to embody.”

Dunham received a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences with a major in interior design and then worked in interior design and architecture for 10 years before working towards her teaching certification in family and consumer sciences at the high school level. This is her fifth year teaching overall and her third year teaching at Clear Lake High School.

“I love the kids,” she said. “The relationships we build are priceless.”

Dunham’s foremost priority is building relationships with her students, teaching character education, and encouraging them to learn through hands-on experiences. She says that when students feel comfortable in a space, that is when they can truly learn.

“This is why I spend so much time caring about what’s going on in their lives and allowing them to open up with myself and their peers,” she said. “I want them to come in my room, feel loved, learn how to be a good person out in the world, and take some good technical hands-on skills with them.”

Not only does she bring this spirit to her classes, she also encourages her students to come up with great ideas, which turn into actions that positively affect their community.

When a CCISD school liaison officer approached Dunham to see if her class could make modified onesies for his seven-month-old son who had leukemia, she saw it as great learning experience.

“It seemed like a good opportunity for my students to learn about how to serve others so we took it and ran with it,” she said.

When her Student Council Officers class wanted to serve the elementary students in Clear Lake High School’s feeder schools, she worked with them to brainstorm and create StuCo Wonderland, a day-long, winter-themed character conference which took place in December.

Principal Drake says that is just the kind of teacher she is.

“While she teaches students the skills needed to be successful in her courses, she also teaches them how to treat one another as human beings,” he said. “I am extremely honored to work beside Mrs. Dunham.”

Ultimately though, Dunham says that her students are the reason she goes to work every day.

"So many of the kids call me 'Mom' or 'Mother D' so it's like a huge family in addition to the one I already have at home," she said.

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