Avoyelles teacher wins national prize for teaching excellence
MOREAUVILLE, La. (KALB) - A high school teacher in Avoyelles Parish was awarded $50,000 after being recognized for her excellence in skilled trades education.
Jodie Melancon teaches agricultural mechanics at Avoyelles High School and was surprised with the big check on October 3.
“I’m blown away,” said Melancon. “I’m excited to be a part of this award, this prize that’s going to benefit my students and my program.”
Melancon is one of 20 prize winners of the 2023 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools prize for teaching excellence.
“She is deserving of the award,” said Karen Tutor, superintendent of Avoyelles Parish Schools. “She truly does exemplify the kind of teachers we want here in Avoyelles Parish. She has good instincts, she’s good with kids and so we knew that when she applied that she should do really well in this.”
In total, $1.5 million in prizes is awarded to 25 skilled trades teachers nationwide. Melancon brings out the best in her students and empowers the next generation to create their own path.
“Women should have the experience to do what men do,” said Star Ponthieux, a junior at Avoyelles High and one of Melancon’s students “It shouldn’t just be men doing that because some days you can’t just depend on men of doing everything. "
The Avoyelles High skilled trades program will receive $35,000 of that prize with Melancon getting the remaining $15,000. As an agricultural teacher, Melancon always wanted to bring a top-notch program to Avoyelles High. Now with the additional funding to back it up, she is excited to see the program thrive.
“This is going to allow me to add electricity and small engines up to my program and that I’m very excited for,” said Melancon.
Melancon said there is no place she would rather be than Avoyelles High.
“We are a small rural parish, but we have heart. My students are just as important as anywhere in the parish, in the state, in the nation. And they are just as deserving.”
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