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Hancock Middle School dominates WLOX Super Teacher awards

Hancock Middle School dominated the WLOX Super Teacher awards, winning first and second places in the online competition.
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 4:49 PM CDT
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HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Hancock Middle School dominated the WLOX Super Teacher awards, winning first and second places in the online competition.

Reading teacher Jessica Monju has picked up a few lessons of her own over the years.

“Come in stern,” she said with a smile. “I had to learn that going from little ones to big ones.”

That forms a solid, long-term learning foundation.

“The most important thing to me is you have to have a relationship with your students, each and every one of them,” Monju said. “You have to have a love for each one of them and except that each one of them brings something to the table.”

Monju, who is in her first year at Hancock Middle School, won first place in the Super Teacher contest. Her students say the honor is deserved.

“She makes sure that we have everything we need,” said Eden James. “One of the quotes that she says is she never sets us up for failure.”

McKinsley Williams said the positivity makes learning easier.

“She just always so happy and she just brings joy to the Hancock community and Hancock Middle School,” she said

Student Alana Lambert said her teacher has brought out the best in her.

“I used to never read out loud,” she said. “I was always like…I really didn’t comprehend things, and now, I’m more confident in reading and I actually enjoy reading now.”

Monju’s belief in her students has been an inspiration.

“I just love how at the beginning of the year she always told us that she would make sure that we wouldn’t fail,” said Emma Kipker. “And she said she’d always take care of us and make sure we’d always have good grades in her class.”

If that award weren’t not enough, another Hancock Middle School teacher, Sarah Keller, won second place.

“I have four small children,” Keller said. “So, I think about what kind of teacher I would want for my kids to have and I try to strive to be that teacher for my students as well.”

Principal Jason Lee said the awards reflect a strong culture.

“I think it does say a lot about our district, and it does say a lot about our school,” Principal Lee said. “I think we work really hard to have a great culture and climate here. We work really hard to support teachers. And I’m very fortunate that to be able to hire some high-quality teachers.”

Angela Pounders of Popp’s Ferry Elementary in Biloxi and Wynde Berry of Harrison Central High School tied for third place in the competition. Chevron donated the prize money to the winners. Monju won a DonorsChoose.org gift card for $1,000.

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