Politics & Government

Nominate an NC School Hero and win a prize for you, the employee and the school

North Carolinians have the chance to win some money for themselves and for hardworking public school employees and their schools.

Through March 31, the N.C. Education Lottery is accepting nominations for its new “North Carolina School Heroes” program. The Lottery will pick 10 winners, with $1,000 going to the person who made the nomination and $10,000 to both the nominee and the person’s school.

“Nominate people who make an influence on your children and make a big difference in their lives and let’s vote on it.” Mark Michalko, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery, said at a news conference Wednesday at Martin Middle School in Raleigh.

More than 1,300 nominations have been received so far from 86 of the state’s 100 counties. The 200 top vote-getters will be reviewed by a committee that will announce 10 winners in May, according to Van Denton, a lottery spokesman.

Many teachers have been nominated. For instance, Carly Pate, an English teacher at Sanderson High School in Raleigh, has been nominated by multiple people and received more than 1,000 votes.

“Carly will be one of those teachers that past students will remember as one who made an impact in their lives many years down the road,” Blair Burch said in the nomination for Pate. “What makes her deserving of this honor is that she does this every day without expecting anything in return from anyone, but only with the hope of making a small difference while she can in her students’ lives every day.”

But nominees aren’t limited to just teachers. Patrick Miller, superintendent of Greene County Schools, said it’s also people such as school bus drivers, child nutrition staff and custodians who are essential in making sure students get an education.

“It’s wonderful to have an opportunity for some of these what you would refer to as unsung heroes to get some recognition,” Miller said. “Ten thousand dollars, if one of those folks were to win, that is not an insignificant sum of money.”

People can go to https://www.ncschoolheroes.com/ to submit nominations and to vote. People can nominate multiple school employees and vote once daily.

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T. Keung Hui has covered K-12 education for the News & Observer since 1999, helping parents, students, school employees and the community understand the vital role education plays in North Carolina. His primary focus is Wake County, but he also covers statewide education issues.