School staff awarded by Pella

Pella Corporation has been recognizing staff at all of Sioux Center’s schools for the work they do for their students. Winners had been granted $250, and that has been doubled for the 2019-20 school year.

Past awarded school staff members who met for coffee at Pella are (front, from left) Kaitlyn Stoker, Andrea Wierenga; (back) Sandra Spaulding, Dories Estes, Candice Howell, Pete Kuipers and Jeremy Mills. Not present was Lindi Dahm.

SIOUX CENTERA lot of work goes into making a school a success for children, and Pella Corporation has been recognizing those people who do their part in working for the betterment of Sioux Center students.

For two years now, Pella has accepted nominations for the School Staff Member of the Month award, in which any staff member of the Sioux Center public and Christian schools and the preschool is given a prize.

“They put a lot of time into what they do,” said award leader and Pella HR assistant Sue Halma, “and we just wanted to recognize them.”

Every month, Halma collects nominations for the award, due on the 25th of the month. She omits the names and grades or roles of the staff member before forwarding the nomination forms to a group of people at Pella to review and vote for a single award winner.

Since the award began, Pella has awarded $250 to the selected staff member, but this year, they have increased that award to $500.

“We looked at our budget and decided $250 doesn’t get you much anymore, so let’s really promote this and reward them with $500,” she said.

They do ask that the awarded money go toward the school in some capacity, whether on books, posters or some other need.

“We ask the money get used for some program in the school, either in their classroom or a program in the school,” Halma said.

That way it goes on to benefit the children in some way.

“Last year, a lot of them purchased books for their classrooms,” Halmas said. “Some purchased those balance ball chairs for them to sit on.”

Halma said nomination forms for this can be found at any of the schools or from Pella Corporation.

“Then they just indicate who they are nominating, what grade, what school, and then a short paragraph on why they’re being nominated. Some of them have been a couple pages long,” Halma said.

Any school staff member can be nominated, such as administrators, teachers, cooks, janitors or coaches.

She said it’s heartwarming to read through the submitted forms and see the impact so many Sioux Center school staff are having at work.

When a winner is chosen, people from Pella prepare with the relevant school administrator. Then, they go out to the staff member’s school to surprise them and present them with the award, complete with an oversized check.

“The kids all cheer, and it’s a lot of fun,” Halma said, adding, “We’ve had teachers who have cried, they’ve been so humbled and surprised by it.”