POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - An American history teacher at Poplar Bluff Junior High received a statewide honor through the VFW Citizenship Education program.
Kathy Pattillo is only the second Poplar Bluff teacher to receive the honor for her summer enrichment program “I’m A Citizen, Too."
Former R-I educator Jan Desgranges, who is also Pattillo’s mother, gave Pattillo high praises in her nomination letter.
“She has a passion for teaching, a love for children and an unquenchable spirit that represents the qualities of the ideal VFW Teacher of the Year,” wrote Desgranges. “Believing in her students, she teaches American government with her heart and strong passion at the Poplar Bluff Junior High.”
Desgranges founded ‘I’m A Citizen, Too’ about 30-years-ago, and was the district’s previous statewide award winner around the year she retired in 2008.
While Desgranges continues to lead the summer school class, Pattillo has assisted for five years, with plans to continue the course when her mother retires.
“I made that promise to Mrs. D,” said Pattillo. “It’s a passion of mine. It’s also my mom’s legacy.”
The program teaches students, grades 5-8 and covers what it means to be productive citizens to one’s family, community, state and nation.
Around 50 students are recruited each June to learn: about the environment through the Mingo National Wildlife Refuge; are taught how the Chamber of Commerce attracts businesses; tour the police and sheriff’s departments; conduct a mock city council meeting; act out a trial at the county courthouse; and are shown how a bill becomes a law by state legislators.
The students also take a field trip to either the Capitol or perform a patriotic program at a Springfield Cardinals game.
An assembly is even hosted for area veterans and students visit the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center, which is Pattillo’s favorite event.
Pattillo was recognized at a banquet hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary.
The previous weekend, JROTC instructor Command Sgt. Maj. Marc Roderick of PBHS was also honored as the top secondary teacher by VFW District 15 in Cape Girardeau on the regional level of the program. Both Pattillo and Roderick received their initial awards from local Post 6477 in December.