Gilbert Elementary teacher receives Caregiving Award

Gilbert Elementary teacher receives Caregiving Award
Posted on 04/21/2017

When Gilbert Elementary student Lily Juarez walked into Emily Hansen’s classroom two years ago, the three-year old with spina bifida was completely nonverbal. Now, she won’t stop talking.   

Lily’s mother, Ana Juarez, credits that milestone to her PK inclusion teacher.

“Lily has now been with Ms. Hansen for two years and despite what doctors said Lily would not be able to do, Ms. Hansen has helped her achieve goals we never thought possible” Juarez said. “She never gave up on her.”

Lily can now count up to 30, she knows all her colors and all her shapes.

“Without her assertiveness and dedication toward her students, I can personally say Lily would not be where she is today,” Juarez said. “She continues to work hard and is there for her students any way she can be as a teacher.”

For this and much more, Juarez nominated Hansen for the First Annual Excellence in Caregiving Award. Hansen received the award on April 8 at Morgan’s Wonderland by Gordon Hartman and his family.

“Ms. Hansen is the most wonderful teacher that I have ever met,” Juarez said. “Lily has blossomed beyond what we thought was possible.”

When doctors told Juarez that Lily would never be able to play with kids her own age, she was hesitant to put Lily in school. Fortunately, Ms. Hansen was the answer to her prayers.

“I was afraid of putting her in an inclusion classroom, but Ms. Hansen makes that classroom to where everyone is the same, so I really appreciate it,” Juarez said.

She added that Ms. Hansen goes above and beyond for all of her students daily.

“She is there for her students as a teacher, as their advocate, as their friend,” Juarez said. “She welcomes Lily daily with a hug and I know as a protective parent I don’t need to be frightened of what may come that day.” 

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