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Lacee Southard – Hidden Hollow Elementary

Miss Lacee Southard, a first grade teacher at Hidden Hollow Elementary in Eagle Mountain, is someone who exemplifies a teacher who inspires the best in her students. She has been teaching at Hidden Hollow Elementary for about 5 years. Everyone loves her, from her first year students and their parents to the current year students and their parents. I have never heard anyone speak negatively about Miss Southard because she always conducts herself with such love and respect for all those she comes in contact with every day. My son Seth has had the wonderful opportunity to be a student of hers this year. I often hear your teacher features on the radio as I’m driving and think to myself I should nominate Miss Southard. Seth is a very energetic boy, always wanting to be on the move. He is smart enough that he finishes his work before most of the class. So it can be a challenge to keep him engaged at school. He had an okay teacher in kindergarten. But by the end of his kindergarten year, every morning it was a fight to get him out the door and convince him he would have a good day at school. He said he hated going to school. Both he and I were relieved when summer break came. I spent all summer worrying about what I was going to do to help him enjoy school and keep him learning, so he didn’t fall behind in his grade. At the beginning of the school year we got Seth’s assigned teacher off the school list and went to meet Miss Southard at Back to School Night. She was very kind, and he was excited to start school. During that first week, like most teachers, Miss Southard sent home a paper for me to fill out about my child. I filled it out, and in the extra comments area I wrote that Seth doesn’t like school, just so she could have a heads up in case it became a problem again. She wrote back she would try her hardest to help him like school, and she did. She went the extra mile to engage him, compliment him, and even came to his soccer game because he asked her to come. From that time on, she had the biggest fan in Seth. He felt so special! He said to me, “When Miss Southard looks at me and smiles, I can’t help but smile back.” Miss Southard goes above and beyond to help the students in her class. One of the boys in her class suffers from the speech disorder called Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia (DVD). He knows the words he wants to say, but his brain can’t make the muscles of his mouth make the correct sounds. At the beginning of the year, she didn’t know what that disorder was or how to help with his treatment. She researched what she could on the subject, met with his parents, and gave him opportunities to practice what he was learning in speech. He has made tremendous improvements this year in his verbal communication skills, and his mother gets emotional when she talks about what Miss Southard has done to help him. She also provides fun learning opportunities to engage her class such as a 100th day of school party where everything they did that day had something to do with the number 100. The night before the party she stayed a long time after school to fill 100 balloons and decorate her classroom with 100’s. She has many fun learning lessons or games related to what is going on in the outside world at that particular time, and my son comes home excited to tell me about what he learned in school that day. As I have had the chance to be in Miss Southard’s classroom this year and work with her, I have observed the same admiration for her in all of her students. She does a wonderful job of creating a classroom where everyone is respected, made to feel special, encouraged to learn, and do their best. When Miss Southard speaks, those thirty 6-7 year olds listen and obey because of the love they have for her which she readily reciprocates. She is a one-of-kind teacher, and we, at Hidden Hollow Elementary, are proud to call her ours! I would like to nominate Miss Lacee Southard to receive the KSL Teacher Feature Award for all of the time and effort she gives to her past and present students.

–Teri Bartschi