An Oakland County educator known for inspiring his students to excel in the classroom and to challenge themselves in life has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Mark Honeyman, teaches eighth grade language arts at West Hills Middle School, which is part of the Bloomfield Hills School District.
The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public school educators across the state during the school year.
Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $1,500 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 is featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations: WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, FOX 47 in Lansing, and WNEM-TV in Saginaw. The segment featuring Honeyman will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Honeyman said his favorite part of being an educator is “giving kids a safe haven where they know they are heard and valued and free to be themselves.”
He said he chose to pursue a career in education after hearing an educational psychology professor’s lecture “about the influence adults can have on kids at key moments of their lives. After that, I was hooked.”
Honeyman said he’s motivated to do his best every day by “the knowledge that I have a chance to make an impact in the life of a child every day that I walk into my classroom.”
A student, Sydney Harker, nominated Honeyman for the Excellence in Education award, describing him as “the most outstanding teacher you will ever meet. He does not just teach English. He teaches us about the world around us and how to live our life in the most positive way possible.
“Mr. Honeyman challenges me and my classmates to ‘be crazy enough to believe you can change the world and then go ahead and do it,’” the student wrote. “Along with English, he teaches us about life and pushes us to do our best in class and in the real world.
”Not only does Mr. Honeyman teach us vocabulary, sentence structure, and how to write papers, he teaches us what is most important in life. Mr. Honeyman says it is most important to spend time with the people you love and that he loves to teach because he is surrounded by the people he loves, his students.
“Mr. Honeyman wears a suit to class every day, except for Fridays on jean day and then he wears a silly sweatshirt and jeans. He says that he wears a suit every day because what we do in class is important and he wants to show his respect for us. He loves us with all his heart and will do anything for us. Mr. Honeyman tells us that when we are having a bad day, no matter what time it is, to call him and he will help us through it. Mr. Honeyman makes me feel like a whole different person in his class. I feel like an adult, who is respected and cared for.”
Honeyman earned a bachelor’s degree in music and English from Marygrove College and master of fine arts in speech at Wayne State University. He has been an educator for 34 years, all with the Bloomfield Hills School District.
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.