RACINE — Love Week continued as Racine Police officers and pastor Tylre Butler of Hope City Church continued their mission Friday to spread love to educators within Racine Unified School District, who continually exemplify love towards their community.
The first leg of the giveback event took place on Thursday (Feb. 2) at nine schools throughout Racine Unified School District.
The Racine Police Department’s Community Oriented Policing Unit and church’s efforts continued on Feb. 3 when 11 more educators were presented with $100 gift cards to The Maple Table, a bouquet of flowers from Flower Company of Racine, and Sunshine Awards as a part of Love Week.
The surprise school visit and award presentations took place at S.C. Johnson Elementary, Walden III, Julian Thomas Elementary, Jefferson Lighthouse Elementary, Red Apple Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, Racine Alternative Learning, Wadewitz Elementary, Gilmore Fine Arts, and a few additional schools.
At SC Johnson, Donnell Taggart was surprised with the accolade. An all-school assembly was held to honor the educational assistant.
Ironically, the educator was recording the assembly as Ofc. Travis Brady called out her name to be honored.
“Donnell is an all-around SCJ Kid Whisperer. She runs our after-school busses, will work with any kid that comes (in) her direction, and offers love and support to staff members who come her way. She has an amazing sense of humor. She is quick with a smile, a hug and a positive solution. She is always someone who we can count on. We have never seen her turn anyone away who needs help or love. She knows all the students in the building and makes them feel special anytime she talks to them.
“To the world, she may be one person, but each and every student at SC Johnson, she makes them feel like they are her world,” the nomination form read.
An in-depth interview with Ofc. Travis Brady and Donnell was recorded by TMJ4, Racine County Eye’s Racine Roundup partner, which is available below.
Gretchen Carlson was shocked, to say the least, at what she thought was just a traditional school assembly, which turned out to be a celebration for Gretchen.
Students at Walden III gathered in the gymnasium. They cheered, hooted and hollered as their educator and mentor’s name was called.
“Gretchen runs both the middle and high school robotics teams. She takes the kids on a cave trip every year in January where they stay two nights in a cave, which can be kind of yucky. She also takes kids on an annual rafting trip. Her students genuinely love her because she exhibits interest and care for each of them. She chaperones at every after-school dance and activity. If you are looking for someone that goes above and beyond for all of our students, Gretchen is your girl,” the nomination form read.
To Gretchen, serving her community and loving her students is just what she does naturally.
“I don’t do it for the recognition,” said Gretchen. “I do it because it’s for the kids.”
Her husband, Spencer Carlson, was not in attendance, but is also an educator within the district. Spencer is involved right alongside Gretchen in her many after-school endeavors.
“We grew up with the value of volunteering and giving back,” Gretchen said.
Feb. 3 was an exciting day for Patricia Howard and not just because of Love Week.
This school counselor has been the fuel behind the Red Apple Elementary School’s cereal fundraiser. After the school’s world record cereal box domino attempt was concluded, officers and others honored Howard for her leadership and unwavering dedication to the project and to her students.
“When Ms. Howard’s name is mentioned, people most often describe her as one of the nicest people they have ever met. She is genuine, kind and positive. She is always willing to assist and especially in great times of need. She is selfless and puts the needs of the students, staff and our community ahead of hers. She is a model for showing love and compassion,” the nomination form read.
Love Week Day 1
The love didn’t just happen on Friday. Read about the Racine County Eye’ss coverage of this two-day event.
The Racine Police Department’s Community Oriented Policing, or COP, Houses make connections in the community.
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