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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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River City Middle School teacher honored

The first recipient of the Outstanding School Employee of the Month award this school year is Cheri Mitton, a seventh-grade English teacher at the brand new River City Middle School. Mitton was honored at an all-school assembly Oct. 1.

Chaston Bear, an eighth-grade life-skills student at Post Falls Middle School, nominated Mitton. She was his English teacher last year at Post Falls Middle School, but she made the move to the new school and Chaston didn’t. They have maintained a special relationship however, communicating daily by e-mail.

In his winning essay, Chaston wrote, “She taught me creative writing, dol (daily oral language) literature, diagramming and spelling. We also learned about the Titanic and getting ready for tests. She played music. It was enjoyable. It helped the students do their work. She played songs like, from the movie “Titanic.” He went on to say, “She is a good teacher. She likes kids. She takes time to teach me. She is the nicest teacher ever.”

Chaston’s current teacher, Kathy Hearn, read the essay to the assembly, and the students went wild once they heard Mitton’s name. As the tearful teacher took the microphone to say “thank you so much,” Becky Ford, assistant superintendent for the Post Falls School District, said, “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen her at a loss for words.”

“My mouth is open all the time!” Mitton said. “I’m shocked. You just don’t expect something like this.”

Mitton has taught at Post Falls Middle School for 24 years, her entire teaching career. Her husband Don was beaming with pride as he held on to the huge gift basket his wife was awarded along with a plaque.

Her name will also appear on the Parker Toyota reader board throughout the month.

The Outstanding School Employee of the Month program is in its second year. It’s sponsored by the Coeur d’Alene Teachers’ Credit Union, Horace Mann Insurance and Parker Toyota, whose famous TV dog Lucky comes to the assemblies each time a new recipient is honored.

Students can find a nomination form online at

Rufus the Moofus comes home

Last spring I wrote about the art students and their teacher, Christy Smith, at Project Coeur d’Alene creating one of the maquette moose for the EXCEL foundation’s “No Moose Left Behind” fund-raiser. The students were extremely proud of and attached to the glass mosaic moose they affectionately named Rufus the Moofus. They hoped to buy it back for the school at the auction, but they weren’t able to raise the funds.

As it turned out, Susan Jacklin purchased the moose at the auction simply because she thought it was beautiful. Jacklin’s friend Heather Bowlby, the president of the EXCEL foundation, told her that Rufus was the Project CdA moose.

“When I found out she bought Rufus I told her the story and she cried,” Bowlby said.

Jacklin generously has donated it back to Project CdA, much to the delight of the students. Rufus returned home Oct. 1.

“It was meant to be,” Bowlby said.

Smith thinks the moose will be displayed in the trophy case at the school for now. She hopes to create a special place for him later. Six of the original artists are still at the school.

“I didn’t encounter one student who didn’t have tears in their eyes when they heard he was back,” Smith said.

Senior Sheree Shore said this is the best memory she’ll take away from high school.

Timberlake Students of the Month

The Timberlake Jr/Sr. High September Students of the Month have been announced.

Seventh-grader Joshua Baxter of Spirit Lake enjoys playing sports and video games. His greatest achievement so far is taking algebra in the seventh grade.

Eighth-grader Caitlyn VanWingerden of Spirit Lake enjoys riding her ATV and playing with her dogs. Her achievements are learning to ski and to drive her dad’s pickup and getting good grades.

Freshman Brandon Nowlan, is a member of football team, band, honor roll and 4-H.

Sophomore Nicole Malloy is on the Timberlake volleyball, basketball and softball teams.

Junior Randi Tarter enjoys horseback riding and roping, hunting and sports. Her achievements include training a world champion reining horse and being rodeo queen for two years.

Senior Morgan Maiolie has received her varsity letter for academics and golf. She loves art, English and physics classes. She plans to be an opulent architect, not a starving artist.

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