Local education advocates want to create a “Hall of Fame” for the city’s teachers and others who have had a lasting impact on public education in Peabody.
That honor will, fittingly, be bestowed in memory of 19th century philanthropist George Peabody, the city’s namesake and a great benefactor of education.
The Peabody Education Foundation is now looking for nominations for the George Peabody Legacy Award, which was publicly unveiled Tuesday. The award is aimed at honoring outstanding local educators and others who have greatly contributed to education in the city, but who might otherwise go unrecognized.
“We’re hoping to create the equivalent of the educators’ Hall of Fame…they deserve it,” said PEF Chairman Dave Gravel at a press conference at the Peabody Institute Library. The library, incidentally, is yet another facet of George Peabody’s legacy in his hometown.
“Help us recognize those unsung heroes. Please, there are so many in this community,” Gravel said.
“If you think about George Peabody, it’s really all about education,” said Tom Gould, briefing the School Committee on the new award later that night.
Gould and Gravel, both city councilors and board members for PEF, are spearheading this effort. Gravel said the annual award would be the signature event for PEF going forward.
School Committee member David McGeney said the award is long overdue in Peabody and even timelier in the .
McGeney said that while he hopes no teacher in Peabody is ever faced with giving his or her life to protect students, many teachers have certainly spent their lives providing an education for the city’s children.
Superintendent Joe Mastrocola also praised the initiative, saying it "goes a long way toward building credibility with the teaching staff."
The guidelines for the new award are pretty straightforward:
- Lives or works in Peabody
- Has had a lasting impact on education
- Tireless advocate for the betterment of Peabody students
- Is an active member in the Peabody community
- Effects change for the good of the people over a significant period of time
Nominations will also be accepted posthumously and you can nominate more than one person.
Gravel said they’re just looking for people to write letters, simply telling PEF who should be honored and why. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 15. Awards will then be presented at a ceremony at City Hall on May 2.
Gould said, depending on the nominations made, multiple awards will likely be given out each year.