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Student Named "Teacher of the Year"

Student Named "Teacher of the Year"

May 30, 2003 - Karen Walker, a first-year classroom instructor and student of the teacher certification program at CCCCD, has been named Teacher of the Year at Terrell High School (THS) in Terrell 25 miles east of Dallas.

Walker taught broadcast journalism at THS, and the award of $1,000 went to her department at the high school when it was presented to her, along with a certificate, at a reception given by the local Wal-Mart distribution center.

This past year, Walker taught grades 9 - 12 at Terrell High School and, though only a first-year teacher, on the very first day of class she already knew her way around school. Walker graduated from THS in 1996. She acknowledged that coming back home again to teach was somewhat unusual for her. However, "things are much different than they there were back then," she said, and then added in a quick whisper, "Some kids that I babysat for are now my students."

In addition to teaching, Walker served as editor of Tiger Tracks the high school newspaper. Her students practiced on-air reporting, via a closed-circuit TV channel sent throughout the district; her students also did live radio reporting on KTHS, the high-school radio station. One of her school's productions came away with "Best of Show" at the Journalist Educators Association/National Scholastic Press Association's meeting in Dallas.

"It's exciting," she said about winning Teacher of the Year. "I was really surprised, this being my first year and all. That they would even think of me is really exciting. It's an honor to get this recognition any time, but especially in my first year teaching."

Before becoming a broadcast journalism teacher, Walker was a television reporter with KXII in Sherman, a CBS affiliate, and KCEN in Waco, an NBC affiliate. She was on-air talent, serving as general assignment reporter and occasionally filling in as anchor. Though the life of a roving reporter was exciting, basic homing instincts eventually brought her back to North Texas.

"Well, the reporter life, as exciting is it was, had its challenges," she said. "I had done it for about four years, and I got tired of moving around. My husband was in McKinney, and I was in Killeen. I really wanted to stay close to the broadcast field, shooting video, editing tape, writing stories and such, but in a way that I also could stay put. So I thought that teaching would be a way to do that."

As a result of her desire to "stay put," she entered the teacher certification program at CCCCD last June and is now working her way toward finishing a certificate.

Wal-Mart's Teacher of the Year program is one of the largest teacher recognition programs in the country. Since its inception in 1995, the program has recognized more than 14,000 teachers nationwide and contributed more than $10.5 million to those schools. Last year alone, Wal-Mart contributed $14 million to educational causes (

Anyone can nominate an outstanding teacher like Karen Walker by visiting any local Wal-Mart store, Supercenter, Neighborhood Market or SAM'S CLUB. As a result of her win locally, Walker will be eligible for Wal-Mart's state Teacher of the Year award in August.