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Doolen teacher receives surprise recognition


On the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 2, when Ms. Cathleen Hall strolled into the professional development classroom at Doolen Middle School, she didn't expect the room full of students, administrators, Walmart representatives and media members that greeted her. Ms. Hall, an exceptional-ed teacher for math, had been selected by Walmart to receive a $513 gift card and a goodie bag in recognition of her contributions. $513 is the national average amount that teachers spend out of pocket a year in order to purchase classroom supplies.

"[I was] just speechless," Ms. Hall remarked. "[I am] overwhelmed, and just really grateful."

The goodie bag provided by Walmart included a Samsung Galaxy tablet, along with other teacher survival items such as energy bars, tea and vitamin-c tablets.

Principal Renee Morales, who nominated Ms. Hall, underscored her value to Doolen as a special teacher.

"I rely on her for her leadership among her teachers, and she's a mentor as well," Morales said. "She deserves it. She was the first person that came to my mind."

Many of Ms. Hall's current and former students gathered in the room to witness the surprise and shared their stories about how Ms. Hall had touched their life as well.

"It was pretty amazing," Ms. Hall admitted. "I think middle school teachers in general usually don't hear that they're actually affecting somebody's life, and so to actually hear it from the kids is pretty special."