Jul 30, 2014
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OC Down Syndrome Association Honors Two Local Aides

Two instructional aides at McAuliffe Middle School are honored for encouraging a boy with Down syndrome to reach a goal of performing in choir. The OC Down Syndrome Association names them Educators of the Year.

OC Down Syndrome Association Honors Two Local Aides

The Down Syndrome Association of OC has named Laurie Funk and Teresa Hawkins Educators of the Year.

The instructional assistants for the Los Alamitos Unified School District were cited for their "outstanding efforts and innovations that have helped a student to grow and learn."

Funk and Hawkins were honored for their contributions in assisting Andy Kochevar, who has Down syndrome, while he attended McAuliffe Middle School during the 2011-12 school year. They were nominated by Andy’s mother, Eileen, for encouraging Andy not only with his academic work, but also in choir.

The instructional assistants worked with Andy on their own time, outside of school, to help him participate in rehearsals, overcome his shyness and anxieties, and ultimately perform in the choir shows.

 “Performing in a choir show may not seem like much, but to us as parents, it means that Andy may have a group he can belong to in high school,” Andy’s mom said in the nomination application. Andy is currently in the non-audition Mens Choir at Los Alamitos High School.

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