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Teacher receives award live on Woodland One TV

Mary Ruch, center, stands in the wings of the tiny TV studio at Woodland Middle School while it is announced that she is the Outstanding School Employee of the Month. 
 (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Mary Ruch, center, stands in the wings of the tiny TV studio at Woodland Middle School while it is announced that she is the Outstanding School Employee of the Month. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

The presentation for the Outstanding School Employee of the Month for October had a different twist, when sixth-grade teacher Mary Ruch, from Woodland Middle School, received her honor on Woodland One TV. Directed by eighth-grader Cody Saffeels, the morning show is broadcast live to all the classrooms from a sophisticated broadcast studio in the school. Every morning except Wednesday, Woodland One brings all the breaking school news to the students.

Ruch, a veteran teacher of 29 years, said this was her first teaching award. She was nominated by sixth-grader Ashley Anderson, who is in her homeroom class.

In her heartfelt essay, Ashley writes that Ruch is “more than just a teacher. She makes you feel safe inside.” She continues by saying that Ruch “makes you feel like you have control over the situation,” and that “last year I had trouble in school, but I knew when she had let us in her classroom it would be much different.”

Ashley said that Ruch makes her feel happy and that she trusts her very much.

Accepting her award, Ruch said, “Oh my, I don’t know what to say, and those of you who know me know that that’s a very rare thing for me not to know what to say. I started teaching when I was 21, and I’ve been doing it 29 years, so you kids do the math. This is my proudest moment.”

A former president of the Idaho chapter of the International Reading Association, Ruch is a reading specialist and received a master’s degree in reading from the University of Idaho. Ashley said that they read a lot in her class and do activities related to the book they are reading.

“It’s about time,” said a very proud Jim Ruch, Mary’s husband, of his wife’s award. He taught at Eastern Washington University for 10 years.

“The kids have loved her for years,” said Harry Amend, the superintendent of schools in Coeur d’Alene. “She connects with middle school kids. We’re very proud of her.”

After the TV presentation, the celebration continued in Ruch’s classroom with cookies and punch. She was beaming while she held her granddaughter, Jordan.

Amend told the class that for the next month they will see their teacher’s name displayed on the Parker Toyota reader board. Parker Toyota, Horace Mann and the Coeur d’Alene Teachers’ Credit Union sponsor the program. Ruch also received a bouquet of flowers, a corsage, a basket full of gifts, two free lunches and a plaque, with her name spelled correctly, much to her surprise.

Students take over soup kitchen

Kathy Hostetter’s Professional Communications Class, from the Coeur d’Alene campus of Lewis-Clark State College, took over the Friday night soup kitchen at St. Pius X Catholic Church, Nov. 5.

The outreach was designed to give the students some practical skill in organizing and then executing a large community project, and to use their communication skills to make the diners feel very special.

The class was divided into five committees; set-up/decorations/entertainment, cooking, serving, desserts and clean-up/safety.

The usually bare tables were graced with linen tablecloths and autumn-themed centerpieces created by Pat Cloonan, the leader of the set-up committee. The flatware was rolled in colorful napkins tied with a small red ribbon.

It was evident from the sparkle in the eyes of many of the folks who came to eat that the goal of the class was met.

Dinner included salad, homemade soup, a choice of salmon or chicken over rice, macaroni and cheese, beverages and an assortment of homemade desserts.

Cooking committee member Al Bevacqua created the salmon based on a recipe from the South Beach diet, and Robert Page cooked the chicken from his own secret recipe. Cooking team leader Sharon Busicchia cooked up a huge pot of homemade vegetable soup.

Class member Tim Jarzabak’s brother, Mike Jarzabak, provided the entertainment, playing his own classical compositions on keyboards. An older gentleman lingered after finishing his meal, to enjoy the soothing music.

The evening was a success, as was evidenced by the warm smiles and many thanks from the diners. The regular St. Pius staff reinforced the success of the evening, noting the great response from these folks, many of them who they have come to know. Approximately 70 meals were served.

LCHS academic presentation

Lake City High School will recognize academic excellence at a presentation on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., awarding letters for academic achievement to juniors and seniors who have maintained a 3.75 or higher grade-point average.

Parents, friends and community members are all welcome to attend.

PF Christian scholarship auction

Post Falls Christian Academy will hold its scholarship auction Friday at the school, 1687 Horsehaven.

Registration and silent auction begins at 4 p.m., with dinner at 6 and the live auction at 7. Dinner is $15. Call 777-0457 for tickets or more information.

Students of the Month

Timberlake Jr. High has announced Students of the Month for October.

Seventh-grader Athan Wade enjoys riding four-wheelers, motorcycles, hunting, fishing and playing basketball. He is the 2001 regional bowling champion and 2002 IGA essay contest winter to the U.S. space camp.

Amanda Kirby, also in seventh grade, enjoys playing soccer, basketball, volleyball and horseback riding. Amanda is a DARE essay winner.

Eighth-grader Lisa Sutton excels at sports, art and is a lover of animals.

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