LAUSD honors Special Education teachers
Laurie Funk and Teresa Hawkins, instructional assistants for Los Alamitos Unified School District, were named Educators of the Year by the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County “for outstanding efforts and innovations that have helped a student to grow and learn,” on Nov. 4 at Angel's Stadium during the annual Buddy Walk.
They were presented a plaque, a floral bouquet, and a T-shirt. Following the celebration, both recipients were honored at a Los Alamitos Unified School District Board meeting for their ongoing excellent and caring work with students with special needs.
Funk and Hawkins were honored for their contributions in assisting Andy Kochevar, who has Down syndrome, while he attended McAuliffe Middle School during the 2011-2012 school year.
The nomination was written by Eileen Kochevar, Andy’s mother, for their encouragement of Andy, not only with his academic work, but also in choir. Without Funk and Hawkins volunteering their own time outside of school, Andy would not have been able to participate in rehearsals, overcome his shyness and anxieties, and ultimately perform in the choir shows. Mrs. Kochevar wrote in her nomination, “…performing in a choir show may not seem like much, but to us as parents, it means that Andy may have a group he can belong to in high school.” Andy is currently enrolled in the non-audition men’s choir at Los Alamitos High School.