Michalee (Lopuh ’99) Christy was named VFW Teacher of the Year in Pennsylvania in 2015 and has been nominated for the 2016 award.
The contest recognizes exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students.
Each year, a classroom elementary, junior high and high school teacher whose curriculum focuses on citizenship education topics for at least half of the school day in a classroom environment can be nominated for the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award.
Christy, who is vocal director for Mercer High School, went up against 450 other Pennsylvania educators for the 2015 honor. She was nominated through Mercer VFW Post 6345.
“We do many different types of patriotic influences in the classroom. Each year is different,” Christy said.
“Each year I have all 252 students learn “The Star-Spangled Banner” in four-part harmony, then we travel around in groups of four to 20, singing at different events in the community.”
Several times Christy has organized a patriots concert to honor those who have served or are serving, and many students will take part in the USO Concert honoring veterans on the 4th of July.
“I simply try to teach that the gift of voice, whether speaking or singing, can be used to honor your country,” Christy said.
“Mrs. Christy is more than a teacher – she is a mentor and has made an incredible impact in my life,” said Janalyn Miklas, a senior at Mercer High School.
"She has impeccable insight and pushes me to my limit in the vocal and theater departments. I cannot thank her enough for all the wonderful things she has done for our school and our community.”
Another Mercer senior, Ryan Hamilton, describes Christy as “one of the most sincerely dedicated teachers” he has had.
“She truly cares for every one of her students. I personally have been involved in the choir program since seventh grade and am now the president of the choir department, and every step of the way she has striven for the best that every student can put forward,” Hamilton said.
“She teaches us not only how to sing and perform, but she also connects music to everyday life.”