Dearborn Area Chamber Names 2015 Teacher of the Year Award Recipients

Members of the business and educational communities congratulate the 2015 Teacher of the Year honorees. From left to right: Dearborn Area Chamber past chair Gary Kearns of Kearns Brothers, Jim Kroll of Lafontaine Automotive Group, Dearborn Area Chamber Education Committee Chair Philipp Emma, Teacher of the Year winners Samia Fawaz (3rd-5th grades), Sharifah Ahmed (middle school), Amanda Lichocki (high school), Dearborn Area Chamber President Jackie Lovejoy, Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Brian Whiston, Dearborn Area Chamber Events & Media Relations Director Ron Hinrichs, and Dearborn Education Foundation Executive Director Eddie Fakhoury. Honoree Seena Ankouni (PK-2nd grades) is not pictured.

Members of the business and educational communities congratulate the 2015 Teacher of the Year honorees. From left to right: Dearborn Area Chamber past chair Gary Kearns of Kearns Brothers, Jim Kroll of Lafontaine Automotive Group, Dearborn Area Chamber Education Committee Chair Philipp Emma, Teacher of the Year winners Samia Fawaz (3rd-5th grades), Sharifah Ahmed (middle school), Amanda Lichocki (high school), Dearborn Area Chamber President Jackie Lovejoy, Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Brian Whiston, Dearborn Area Chamber Events & Media Relations Director Ron Hinrichs, and Dearborn Education Foundation Executive Director Eddie Fakhoury. Honoree Seena Ankouni (PK-2nd grades) is not pictured.

Hundreds of teachers, students and families attended a special ceremony on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 to recognize and honor the teachers of the Dearborn Public Schools district at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center for the 18th annual Alberta Muirhead Teacher of the Year Award Ceremony. The ceremony, hosted by the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce and presented by LaFontaine Automotive Group recognized the Teacher of the Year for grade categories Pre-Kindergarten- 2nd grade, 3rd – 5th grade, middle school and high school.

Each of the four honorees received a $1,000 cash prize from the Chamber, a hand-made glass apple award from the Glass Academy in Dearborn, a membership to the Henry Ford, a gift basket from 1st Choice Urgent Care in Dearborn, and are now part of a select group of Dearborn teachers who have been recognized by the community for their ability to make a difference.

The Chamber’s Education Committee, chaired by Philipp Emma, had the tough job of selecting four winners from a field of more than 900 nominations for 239 teachers.  Nominations were received and carefully chosen by the committee, made up of a group of dedicated and highly motivated members of the educational and business communities.

“The Chamber is honored to have the opportunity to recognize our teachers and we are so thankful for the support of LaFontaine Automotive Group and all of our sponsors and partners who make this wonderful awards ceremony possible,” commented Jackie Lovejoy, President of the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce.

The winning teachers for 2015 are Seena Ankouni of Lowrey Elementary School (PK-2nd grades), Samia Fawaz of Lowrey Elementary School (3rd-5th grades), Sharifah Ahmed of Salina Intermediate School (middle school), and Amanda Lichocki of Fordson High School.

Seena Ankouni was nominated as a 2nd grade teacher at Lowrey Elementary School by her student, Seena Abdulla. Seena wrote in her nomination essay, “This was my first year at Lowrey, and I had no friends because I was new to the school and very shy! My teacher knew I was struggling to make friends so she asked the class if they can be my friend!”

Samia Fawaz was nominated by her student, Mona Berry for her tremendous efforts as a 4th grade teacher at Lowrey Elementary.  Mona explained in her essay that Ms. Fawaz “makes learning positive and fun.”

“My teacher creates a positive and fun classroom,” explained Mona. “My classroom feels like home. I always feel comfortable in my classroom and at school!”

The middle school teacher of the year, Sharifah Ahmed, was nominated for her outstanding teaching for 8th grade students at Salina Intermediate School. She was nominated by student Lauren Harb, who described Sharifah as a teacher who is “amazing.”

“There are many amazing teachers that work at Salina Intermediate School,” said Lauren. “But there is one particular teacher that is beyond amazing, which is my language arts teacher!”

The high school winner, Amanda Lichocki was nominated for teaching 9th grade language arts at Fordson High School. Mariam Alkudari, a student at Fordson nominated Lichocki.

“I will always remember my teacher’s heartwarming attitude and try to replicate that to the best of my ability,” said Mariam. “She…taught me that the best way to live life is with a positive attitude!”

Community partners sponsoring the 2015 event are LaFontaine Automotive Group, McDonald’s “The Future,” Dearborn Federal Savings Bank, Gallagher Benefits Services, DFCU Financial, The Dearborn Agency, Ameriprise Financial-Jim Thorpe, 1st Choice Urgent Care, Central Michigan University, Dearborn Federation of Teachers, Fairlane Town Center, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Applebee’s of Dearborn Heights, Bangkok 96 Thai Restaurant, Buffalo Wild Wings, Byblos Banquets, Del Taco, Delta Dental, Global “E” Group, Habib’s Cuisine, Henry Ford College, HYPE Athletics, LaPita Mediterranean Restaurant, Sylvan Learning Center, Zeal Credit Union, Dearborn Education Foundation, Mati’s Deli, PKSA Karate of Dearborn, Rugenski Chiropractic, School Life Dearborn, Tim Horton’s, and West Village Dental Care.

Sam’s Club of Southgate provided reception refreshments. LaFontaine Automotive Group donated the gift bag for each attending teacher and the Glass Academy donated the glass “apple” awards for each teacher. The Henry Ford also provided a family membership for each winning teacher.

Education is one of the Dearborn Area Chamber’s core strategies.  Through programs such as Teacher of the Year, the Chamber, a 600+ member organization, cultivates learning and mentoring opportunities between the student population and local business.

For more information, please contact the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce by phone at 313-584-6100. Be sure to follow the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce on Facebook at facebook.com/DearbornAreaChamber, on Twitter @DbnAreaChamber and online at www.dearbornareachamber.org for all the latest news and events.