Excellence in Education Awards return to in person format

Muscatine High School seniors and their teachers receiving their 2021 Excellence in Education Awards.

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Since 1988, the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust has offered scholarships to select eighth graders and seniors in high school and honored outstanding teachers and staff members who have positively influenced the students they worked with. Though the award continued in 2020, recipients could not come together for an in person celebration, as they typically do. On May 2, this year’s recipients had the opportunity to come together and celebrate their achievements at a reception held at the Merrill Hotel.

Saci Orr, Muscatine High School’s assistant principal, shared that for the past 33 years, the Carver Trust has honored 10 eighth grade students and 20 seniors by presenting them with $1,000 and $3,000 scholarships respectively. In order for students to qualify, community members must nominate them and they must write an essay explaining how they overcame adversity in their life. A committee of Muscatine Community School District staff members then scores and reviews each entry, ultimately deciding on which students to honor that year.

Community members also nominate the six staff members honored as well, with winners receiving a gift of $500. In order to celebrate staff members who improve students’ educational experiences in many ways, the Excellence in Education awards honor three certified staff members (which includes teachers) as well as three non-certified staff members.

2021 Excellence in Education Award Recipients

Eight Grade Honorees:

  • Adjo Adjogble
  • Isabella Burkamper
  • Catherine Duo
  • Harper France
  • Mar y Luna Haskins
  • Trinity Hooker
  • Alyssa Moore
  • Hannah Nguyen
  • Rodrigo Nunez
  • Luis Sifuentes

Senior Honorees:

  • Yahir Acosta Gomez
  • Alejandro Becerra
  • Prince Brown
  • Rebekah Brunson
  • Donovan Cabrera
  • Virginia Cacho
  • Hector Castillo Del Bosque
  • Kaylee Dayton
  • Togeh Deseh
  • Lesly Garcia
  • Aubriena Garza
  • Elisha Gaye
  • Emma Gordin
  • Kylie Green
  • Isabelle Hartman
  • Samantha Hoeper
  • Joel LaRue
  • Yazmin Morgan-Rangel
  • Rylie Moss
  • Timothy Nimely

Staff Honorees:

  • Sue Adams
  • Adam Losbaker
  • Laura Koch
  • Marika Krause
  • Karen Meyer
  • Nancy Ward

This year, to encourage social distancing, eighth grade students and senior students each participated in their own separate ceremonies, both hosted in the Merrill Hotel’s grand ballroom. At each ceremony, students and their families enjoyed a dessert bar and presentation of certificates. As part of the annual event, each student who received a scholarship also got to choose one teacher they would like to honor. These teachers could attend the presentation as well, and a video honoring each of them played during the event.

Though Orr has participated in many Excellence in Education Award ceremonies, she still finds the event moving every year and feels grateful that the Carver Trust has helped more than 800 students continue their education through this scholarship program. “It is truly an honor to be part of this process, from the selection of students and staff to the presentation of awards,” she reflected: “It was humbling to read about the student adversities and inspiring to read how they have overcome them. We cannot thank the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust enough for their generosity and their commitment to our students.”