Sometime at the end of February I got an email from a co-worker about a New York State award for Woman of Distinction. He felt that we, as the newspaper should submit my Mom. Of course my answer was yes! Over a few weeks I tried to think of how to sum up everything that my Mom does, not an easy task. With the help of some of my Mom’s co-workers we came up with a very nice submission.
Unfortunately, she did not win, but that does not change the fact she is a Woman of Distinction for everyone around her. For those of you who know my Mom you will think of a million things we did not include in our submission, but we tried our best. I have often thought that I wish when I was in school that I had a teacher like my Mom, but I always remember how fortunate I am that I have had her my whole life.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom!
This was our statement of support:
“As a media outlet covering thousands of stories each year, we find that the work Linda Walter does in and out of the classroom is impactful and consequential to the Hornell area. Her ability to act as a bridge between local businesses, the school district and non-profit organizations has inspired a new generation of community minded-students.
Through hands-on, experiential learning, Linda connects her students to real world scenarios that better prepare them for careers in a world constantly evolving around new technology. Her work is deserving of recognition in itself. Coupled with her volunteerism, she is clearly a Woman of Distinction,”
— Staff, The Evening Tribune
This was our evidence as to why my Mom is a Woman of Distinction:
Every student has a teacher that changes the way they think and introduces them to a new world of opportunities. Linda Walter is one of those teachers in the Hornell City School District.
Linda teaches computer science in the Hornell Intermediate School to students in grades four through six, and does more than teach simple typing skills and research curriculum to deliver an immersive experience that invests her students in their community. Linda guides her students through the development of skills that go beyond the computer and can be applied to other aspects of their education, she introduces elements of art, history, and a deeper understanding of the community around them.
Linda has been instrumental in creating a school community partnership through Positive Behavioral Intervention Planning. Last year the school did a reading challenge that Linda coordinated for the building. She contacted the author of the book and established a working relationship with her. The author decided to visit Hornell and even write a book regarding our year and what she witnessed Linda and the school community do together. Linda created community partners for each of the classrooms to allow interaction with local businesses and the students. Some partners gave incentives for reading, some visited, it was personal to each classroom and partner.
Each semester, Linda’s sixth grade class takes on a video marketing project. The students pose as a marketing team and work collaboratively with local businesses and organizations. Students research what their client does and how their marketing team can help them. At the end of the project there is a formal event where students present what they have learned and the marketing videos. Linda’s students have worked with the Hornell YMCA, Humane Society, Fire Department, Police Station, movie theater and library among others to showcase their vital role in filling community needs.
In honor of Veteran’s Day, Linda’s marketing team works with the Hornell Public Library to highlight the sacrifices made by the men and women of the military. Over the past three years, her students have interacted directly with local veterans of WWII, The Korean War and The Vietnam War. Each student researches the war so they know what questions to ask while conducting and recording interviews with veterans. For many of the students, this is the first time they have been in contact with a veteran. For some of the veterans this is the first time they have spoken to students about their experiences. It is amazing to watch the students conduct these interviews, and watch their respect for veterans grow. The finished videos highlight historical aspects of the war, interwoven with the personal stories of those who lived it. This fitting tribute has moved the community, and documented local history that might otherwise have been lost.
Linda’s additional classroom activities include coding and the use of a variety of programs, preparing the children of our community for the confident use of technology in their future.
Beyond her classroom work, Linda also creates video announcements that are shown in the school once a week. Students from grades four through six are invited to sign up for participation in each week’s broadcast. Most of the filming takes place before the school day, and she is never short on volunteers to take part. These are conducted as if the students are newscasters, complete with a green screen. During her free periods, Linda puts together the finished product, integrating the background, cutting together videos, and planning for future weeks.
Outside of Linda’s work at school she is a driving force in the children’s program at the Canisteo Wesleayn Church and the greater Central New York District of the Wesleyan Church. She spent many summers working in the youth programs of the Chambers Wesleyan Camp, through her many years of service she was a camp director and coordinator of four different children’s camps. Linda has the ability to gather talented people and inspire them to step up and meet whatever challenge comes their way. At Chambers Welseyan Camp, Linda created memories for children and their families that will last a lifetime.
Linda’s ability to motivate her students and introduce them to the many opportunities that computers can give them is never ending. She is helping to preserve local history, getting students involved in the community, and providing experiences that will last them a lifetime. Linda is the teacher we all wish we had and is the driving force behind the positive atmosphere at the Hornell Intermediate School. She takes little praise and wants to stay behind the scenes, but she needs to be pushed to the front for recognition of her leadership, dedication, inspiration and kindness. With that being said Linda Walter is a “Woman of Distinction” for all she does to enrich students leaning experiences through life lessons and positive relationships.