MISSION, Kan. — One Class at a Time's first winner is Conda Mauck. She's a first grade teacher at Highlands Elementary in the Shawnee Mission School District.
For those who know Mauck, passionate, is the word to describe her.
"She's passionate about teaching, that's very apparent," Mauck's friend and former colleague, Christina Olivarez said.
Mauck's been teaching for more than three decades, however, this past school year felt different.
"In many ways, I feel like this has been my first year," Mauck said. "I feel like a brand new teacher because the pandemic has changed everything."
But what she wanted to keep the same, was building relationships.
"I made a promise to myself that I was not going to let this year be a year that my students remembered it as a pandemic year," Mauck said. "But one that we made more memories than ever, and a year that they won't ever forget learning together."
To create those unforgettable moments, instead of reading to her first graders through a screen, she brought reading to them.
"She wanted to see each kid and she knew they weren't starting to hear in person, so she went to every student's house. So at the time I believe she had 22 students to start the year," Olivarez said. "And she sat in their driveway and read our 'Class of family,' and sometimes siblings would come out and sit with her and a little towel with the student or the family. And that's just amazing and I think that's going to be lifelong memory for those kids."
It's just one example of several mentioned by her friend and former colleague.
"I have a nine-month-old and I'm like, man I want Conda to be his teacher," Olivarez said. "I want loving supportive teachers in building that foundation. Of course kids are there to learn right, but that's going to come because she's made this effort. And they love her and trust her and so anything she does to teach them academically, it's gonna be really well received."
Mauck had no idea she was the first recipient of the $500 gift card.
"Thank you so much," Mauck said. "This means a lot. And it's something that I think every teacher does and every teacher deserves so I'm going to take this for the team and say thank you for all of us. So, that is amazing."
"She sees people, and I want her to be seen too," Olivarez said.
To nominate a teacher you believe deserves a $500 gift card for their efforts in the classroom and going the extra mile, head over to kshb.com/one-class.
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