r Amy Huhtala, a teacher at Salem Junior High School, was surprised by KSL and Zions Bank recently as their Teacher Feature of the week.
Huhtala received season tickets to the Hale Center Theater, an overnight stay at the Anniversary Inn and a certificate for dinner at the Roof Restaurant. Additionally, teachers honored with the Teacher Feature Award can choose to enter the KSL Teacher Feature Car Contest where they can become eligible for the chance to win a two-year lease on a new 2017 vehicle provided by Burt Brothers Tires and Service.
Nyla Alldredge’s nomination letter for Amy Huhtala stated in part: “My daughter’s eighth-grade teacher is Mrs. Huhtala. She is an extraordinary teacher! My daughter says she is her favorite teacher this year. On the last day before Christmas break, Mrs. Huhtala sent home a handwritten card to my daughter and to each of her students in all of her classes. The card talked about the qualities and the positive things that she had noticed in each of her students. I could hardly believe that a teacher would have the time or even make the time to do such a meaningful deed. She has told her students that she wanted to highlight the things they do right, since most teenagers only hear about the things they do wrong.
“When Mrs. Huhtala was growing up she remembered that Christmas day was magical. When coming down the hall for Christmas, her favorite thing, above the nicely wrapped gifts, was to search the tree for her letter from her mom. She would grab her letter and wrap herself up with a blanket on the couch and use the lights of the Christmas tree to read her mom’s letter. It was a letter of encouragement, praise, thoughts about life and her love for her daughter. This is one of her most vivid memories from her childhood. For 18 years, she has carried on the Christmas letter tradition with her own children.
“Now as a teacher she wanted to give a gift that was easy to afford and also worthy to give her students. Since she said few things fit that category, she decided to extend the letter-writing tradition to her students. For a few years, she was given a handwritten, individual letter for Christmas to each of her students. She said is wasn’t much, but she gave much care and thought in her words and hoped it would help the students know how amazing they are. Each part of the letter is individual except for the phrase, ‘Remember you are brilliant.’ What a positive and thoughtful thing for anyone to do, but as a teacher, I think it is amazing the influence and love they must feel from Mrs. Huhtala. What a blessing she is to my daughter and to all those she teaches.”
KSL NewsRadio and Zions Bank are proud to honor Utah’s best teachers with the KSL Teacher Feature Awards. Since 1994, Teacher Feature has highlighted outstanding teachers throughout the State of Utah. Winning teachers are announced every Tuesday morning, September through June, on Utah’s Morning News with Brian and Amanda.