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Sunya Osborn – Landmark High School

Mrs. Sunya Osborn is in my opinion the best teacher in Utah, and yes I am her son. My mother graduated from the University of Utah with her bachelor’s degree, but did not put that to work for many years. Through those years she kept her teaching license current and only began teaching once I, her youngest child, was in school so that she could fulfill her role as a mom. She began teaching English at Payson Junior High School. Here she was very involved in the school and the lives of the students. She assisted several student organizations, including being the yearbook advisor and organizing the trip to the 2002 Olympics for the students. She has always been dedicated to helping students and willing to spend time with those who need extra help. I observed this on many occasions as I spent afternoons or my days off of school in her classroom. I also know of the impact she had on their lives because of the many comments I have received about my mother from her former students. I played basketball against many former students and sat in the same college classroom with many more. Each always had positive things to say about her and many remembered a specific defining moment in their life because of my mother. I have also been able to know many of her colleagues through Scouting and my own academic pursuits, and they too have expressed the utmost respect and admiration for my mom.

After teaching for many years at Payson Junior, my mother took a job at the school district as a literacy specialist. She has helped to implement several literacy improvement strategies for the Nebo School district. She has also been an advocate for literacy across the curriculum and has helped to train educators in a variety of fields how to teach literacy in their respective subjects. She also assists in training new teachers, several of whom are my peers and friends from college. I have received amazing feedback from these teachers about what a great job my mother does in this process and about what a great teacher she is. But amid the administrative roles she holds, my mom voluntarily took the responsibility of teaching English to the students at the alternative high school in the district. She has described what a difficult environment it is to teach in, but is dedicated to helping these students gain a quality education. More than helping them learn, I have witnessed her sincere desire for these students to succeed in life and her efforts to help them achieve their goals.

Outside of the classroom, my mother has also been a dedicated teacher: she has spent time tutoring individuals with reading impairments; she volunteers her time to teach the youth in church and other settings; and was an amazing teacher in our home. I now live in Texas where I am attending medical school, and my mother is still willing to help me with my literacy skills. I am 100% positive that I would not be where I am now academically (or otherwise) without the amazing teaching of my mother; and I am confident that there are many of her other students who would express the same sentiment. Because of Mrs. Sunya Osborn’s dedication to teaching, and her impressive efforts in so doing, I feel she deserves to be recognized as one of Utah’s most outstanding teachers!

–Michael Osborn


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