The January Youth Excellence Award was presented to Sneha Sharma, a senior at St. Mary's Episcopal School, for her intellectual curiosity, incredible drive, energy and commitment to her goals. These traits are evident in Sneha's work during the past several summers in the University of Memphis' behavioral neuroscience lab, where she helped run the day-to-day operations of the lab and contributed to the research efforts to understand the neural basis for risk-taking behaviors. Not only is Sneha a scholar, she is also engaged in numerous school-sponsored extracurricular activities and serves as the Chairman of the Memphis Youth Council. In addition, she has flourished as a leader among her peers and is quickly becoming a voice for student engagement in social action in her community. Sneha represents the best of Germantown – she is committed to leadership, academic excellence and service to her community.
The January Teacher of the Month was awarded to Ms. Melinda Henson, a fifth grade math teacher at Dogwood Elementary School, where she pushes her students to think through the logic of solving math problems. Focusing on teamwork, she leads her students in discussions of the strategies needed to work through challenging math problems that are now such a critical part of the curriculum. Additionally, she serves as Dogwood's math "coach" and helps other math teachers improve their instructional design. She stepped in to other classrooms when teachers were absent to make sure those students received consistent math instruction during their teacher's absences. Ms. Henson has also helped to organize Dogwood's recent "math night" for parents and teachers to discuss the new math curriculum and the teaching methods Dogwood teachers are using to implement that curriculum.
Each month during the school year, the Germantown Education Commission honors a teacher and student. Winners are selected from those nominated by parents, students, teachers or school administrators. Youth Excellence Award winners must be a highschool senior living in Germantown but can attend any school. Teacher of the Month award winners must teach in a public or private school within Germantown. The 2017-18 Education Commission Youth Excellence and Teacher of the Month awards are generously sponsored by Principle Toyota. On a monthly basis during the school year, the Germantown Education Commission Youth Excellence Award recognizes high school seniors who make a significant difference the lives of others, their schools, and their communities all while maintaining a high GPA.
Vice-Mayor Mary Anne Gibson read from Sneha's letter of recommendation, "An amazingly bright, focused student with diverse interests, and incredible drive and energy, Sneha is the real deal. She dives into what makes her curious, finishes what she begins, and stays committed to her personal goals. She sticks to it even when she fails; there is no quitting for Sneha." Congratulations to Sneha for receiving this award!