In December 2020, Kim Harrington of Mamawi Atosketan Native School (MANS) was recognized as teacher of the month by local radio station 105.5 FM for her outstanding efforts to help her students in and out of the classroom.
A math specialist, Harrington has also taught high school English, art, and cosmetology classes at MANS. But while her varied and hectic teaching schedule takes up a significant amount of her time, she still goes out of her way to help numerous students and their families outside usual school hours. Even after they graduate, Harrington feels a special bond with her students. So, when it came to her attention that a member of the tight knit MANS community needed some help, she stepped up. The relative of the alumnus—a mother with five kids—had to move just before Christmas. Circumstances were such that they had no possessions, only their clothes. To this mother in need, Harrington was a trusted connection.
By word-of-mouth, Harrington organized a drive to help the family. Many responded to her request by donating essential items like towels, linens, kitchen appliances, beds, and even a basketball for the teenaged boys to play with over Christmas break.
Her efforts triggered the nomination to 105.5 FM. As Teacher of the Month, she received a "Teacher of the Month" certificate, a gift card for Two for One Family Pizza, and her glowing nomination letter was read on air, it said:
"You go above and beyond for your students. Most are struggling on the reserve or are in single-parent homes. You do so much for everyone and deserve some appreciation."
In response to all the fanfare, Harrington says, "I guess I don't love being in the spotlight. I like to do things quietly behind the scenes. My list of friends that helped out is vast, but I could not have done it without them." She also acknowledges that "every teacher at Mamawi deserves an award like this. Whether it's giving our lunches or bringing extra fruit so kids can have more for breakfast, everyone on this campus goes above and beyond for our students."
If one thing is certain, it’s that MANS is a special place. It's not just the students and staff that feel a sense of community and connection with the school. Families have that connection too.