A Kent County educator known for inspiring students to succeed and her willingness to work with them after school and on weekends to help them thrive has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Jacqueline Dolce, teaches 10th grade U.S. history and 11th grade government and advanced placement government classes at Wyoming High School, which is part of the Wyoming Public Schools district.
The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education award program in 2014 to recognize outstanding public school educators across the state during the school year.
Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school or school district. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.
Each winner also will be featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations: WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, and FOX 47 in Lansing. The news segment featuring Dolce will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing and then on Thursday in Detroit.
For the Excellence in Education awards program, the Lottery has teamed up with Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo. Izzo met recently with Dolce at the Breslin Center and presented her with the award.
She said her favorite part of being an educator is that moment when a student grasps a new concept or idea. “It’s when you see the spark in their eyes and know: ‘They get it!’ They’ve made a connection and figured out some challenging information.”
Dolce said that coaching volleyball at her local high school led her to a career in education. “My players would make comments about my ‘positivity’ and how they wished their teachers taught their subjects the way that I coached. Although I don’t coach volleyball any more, I feel like I’ll always be a coach in the classroom,” she said.
She said her students motivate her to do her best each day. “I want for my students what I want for my own children. To have a teacher who loves what they do and cares about each and every student. A teacher who will give them time and listen to them whether they need extra help with class or just someone to talk to.”
A student nominated Dolce for the Excellence in Education award, citing “her dedication and passion for what she does. Mrs. Dolce is constantly doing whatever it takes to make her students the most successful. She will stay after school to help students when needed and she even will come to school on a Saturday to have an ‘exam cram’ with her advanced placement students to prepare them for an exam.
“I have been a student of Mrs. Dolce’s for three years and her bond with students is one I have never seen with any other teacher. She inspires me to be the best I can be as well as all of her other students. The words ‘struggling student’ are not in Mrs. Dolce’s vocabulary because she does whatever it takes to make each student thrive,” the nomination said.
“Apart from her relationships with students, she is also loved by all of the other staff. She is everyone’s friend and coaches other teachers to be their best as well.”
Dolce has been an educator for 17 years, the last 15 in her current position at Wyoming High School.
She earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree in education from Aquinas College.
Outstanding public school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at http://bit.ly/ExcellenceInEducation or through the websites of the Lottery’s media partner stations.
Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:
- Excellence – Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement.
- Dedication – They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed.
- Inspiration – Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations either academically or professionally.
- Leadership – They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts
- Effectiveness – The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.