Four AHS teachers recognized | AspenTimes.com

Four AHS teachers recognized

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Aspen High School’s Class of 2002 took time out of its own awards ceremony Wednesday to recognize the efforts of a few special instructors.

The Distinguished Teacher Awards, sponsored by local businessman and school district benefactor Dick Butera, were distributed to four AHS teachers during the school’s senior awards assembly. AHS senior Ed Monge, chairman of the DTA Foundation student selection committee, announced that Kirk Gregory, Kathy Klug, Linda Lafferty and Nancy Roach would receive the “distinguished” distinction this year.

Though the teachers say the recognition is the best part of the award, there is a hefty bonus – each one receives $10,000. Butera sponsors 10 such awards each year to be split up among the three schools of the Aspen School District, while Cliff Runge and the crew at Aspen Base Operations supply funding for an 11th award. This marks the second year the awards have been distributed.

Roach, an AHS creative writing and literature teacher since 1989, said she had completely forgotten about the teachers’ awards ceremony – as a senior class sponsor, she’s been wrapped up in graduation preparations for months.

The acknowledgment was made even sweeter when Roach found out that she was honored by those whose opinions matter most to her.

“It’s a committee of students and parents, and that, to me, is what’s so thrilling,” she said.

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Lafferty, an English as a second language instructor, summed up the awards experience much like Roach.

“I was stunned, and beyond that, I’m really, really happy,” she said.

The three-year AHS teacher also thanked Butera for his annual $100,000 donation to the school district.

“What a wonderful, altruistic act,” Lafferty said. “I don’t know that anyone else in the United States does this sort of thing. We’re all astounded by his generosity.”

Both Roach and Lafferty said it was too early to make big plans for their award checks, but some might go toward graduation celebrations.

“A chunk of it is definitely going to an end-of-the-year party for the kids,” Lafferty said.

Gregory, an AHS instructor since 1983, and Klug, the high school’s reading specialist for the past three years, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. (However, The Aspen Times has learned that Klug is about to finish her doctorate, and $10,000 could probably come in handy when the time comes to pay off student loans.)

The seven remaining awards will be distributed next week during separate ceremonies at Aspen Elementary and Aspen Middle schools. AES has scheduled its ceremony for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, while AMS will honor its award winners at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.