HOLDEN, Mass. — At Mountview Middle School on Wednesday, 7th grade Social Studies teacher Bill Turgeon walked into a special assembly with no idea he would soon be on stage receiving an award for teacher of the month.
Yet last year it was Turgeon's dedication that gave Bethany Adams the confidence to overcome her own fear of public speaking, eventually prompting her to write WSRS Radio, 96.1 and nominate him for the Country Bank Teacher of the Month award.
Jackie Brush, of the WSRS Morning Show, and Jodie Gerulaitis, Financial Education officer at Country Bank visited the school Wedneday morning to present Turgeon with the recognition.
The award was established 7 years ago by the bank and WSRS Radio, 96.1, to recognize the educators in the region that impact the lives of children in unique ways.
Every month, one teacher is chosen from hundreds of nominations in Worcester County, and another from Hampden/Hampshire County, for going above and beyond in their impression on their young students.
Such was the case with Turgeon, who helped Adams when she felt like she just could not complete her assignment on Gods and Goddesses, even though she enjoyed the topic, because she had "absolutely zero confidence" in herself.
"He simply told me that it was a topic I knew well, and I just needed to believe in myself," she wrote in the letter. "But I told him I wasn't any good at that and I needed his help."
Turgeon replied to her that she would be amazing, that she was beautiful, and she could do it.
Gaining the confidence, Adams was able to go in front of her classmates and give the presentation, and received a 95 percent on the assignment.
"Mr Turgeon inspired my love of history, and he inspires students everyday to be the best that they can be," Adams' letter continued.
Now in the 8th grade, Adams explained that she has since been able to join the acapella group, and has more friends than ever before.
"Mr. Turgeon truly altered my life," she wrote.
In recogntion of his dedication, Turgeon received a plaque, an Edible Arrangements Gift Basket, an $100 gift card to Big Y, and an $150 American Express Gift Cheque.
Adams also received a $50 gift card to Big Y, and an $150 U.S. savings bond from Country Bank.
Additionally, both received $50 for Peppercorn's Grille and Tavern in Worcester, and four passes to Old Sturbridge Village.
Turgeon thanked Adams for nominating him, and told her: "You rose up to your biggest fear, standing in front of an audience. To overcome that, that was all you."
To see a list of previous Teacher of the Month winners, visitwww.countrybankforkids.com.