Alyssa Larsen surprised by the Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education
On April 30, Karen Huntsman surprised special education teacher Alyssa Larsen at Spanish Fork High School with the highest teaching award bestowed in the state of Utah: the Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education. The award’s mission is to recognize, inspire and reward the best teachers, school administrators and volunteers in Utah for continually seeking ways to improve the quality of education in our public school system.
Spanish Fork High School has an enrollment of 1,240 students. Alyssa currently has 13 special needs students and 52 peer tutors in her classroom. She also coaches the Spanish Fork girls’ basketball team. “Getting this award was truly shocking, and I still haven’t quite realized that it is real. I know some of the educators who have won the Huntsman award. We never think when we are working in this field that a reward like this will come our way. I truly feel blessed to have the opportunity to work with the amazing students I do every day, which made this award possible in my life. It’s not every day we can find someone who loves every aspect of their job; but I really do. The students, my coworkers, administration and parents, I love them all. I cannot thank them enough for playing a role in my being honored with this award,” said Larsen.
SFHS Principal Dave McKee said, “Soon after hiring Alyssa, I realized that she is an extraordinary individual in wonderful ways. She gives individuals a sense of worth and importance and encourages them through trials. Alyssa has shown her love and support to many that truly needed exactly that in life.”
Larsen’s nominators include Dusty Averett, Kippy Bishop, Dave McKee, Margaret Millstead, J. Lynn Jones, Shelly Bills and Julie Provstgaard. The nominators wrote, “It is without a doubt that Alyssa is deserving. Her passion in doing what she does has made many want to follow in her footsteps. Her magnetic personality and genuine concern for individuals in her life sets her apart from her peers. Alyssa is a teacher, advocate, confidant, cheerleader, mentor, coach, shoulder to cry on, and a high five waiting to celebrate even the smallest milestone. She attends weddings, mission farewells and funerals of students and former students. Alyssa gives her all every single day.”
Nebo School District Special Education Director J. Lynn Jones stated, “Our district Special Needs Beauty Pageant began with Alyssa’s support. This event began when one of her peer tutors was pursuing ways to support the special needs girls as a platform for her successful pursuit of the Miss Spanish Fork title. This pageant will be held for the sixth consecutive year this spring. All girls are winners with crowns and sashes.”
Teacher Alyssa Larsen is surprised by Spanish Fork High School Principal Dave McKee with the Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education.