A Calhoun County educator known for teaching students to take care of their minds and bodies has been honored with an Excellence In Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Molly Collins, is a high school physical education teacher at Pennfield High School.
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 news segment featuring Collins will air this evening.
Collins says her mother inspired her to pursue a career as an educator.
“I grew up surrounded by amazing teachers, including my mother. Not only did she raise my siblings and I, but she also taught almost every child that came through Houghton Lake Schools for more than 30 years. She was a physical education teacher as well, and when I was trying to determine what I wanted to do after high school, she really encouraged me to pursue education. Seeing the impact she had on kids throughout her career inspired me to follow in her footsteps.”
Collins says her passion for health and wellness drive her each day.
“The health and wellness of my students and our community drive me to do my best each day. There is so much happening in all our lives these days and it’s easy to put health and wellness on the back burner, but it’s so important to take care of yourself so you can be the best you for yourself, friends, family, and the community.”
Collins was nominated by her childhood best friend.
“To her students, Molly is so much more than a physical education teacher, she is a mentor, a friend, and a confidant. Her lesson plans are filled with fun engaging activities that challenge students and teach them the value of taking care of your mind and body. Molly’s commitment to her students doesn’t stop there though. An example is last year when a student wasn’t going to be able to attend the formal prom for health reasons, Molly not only organized a special ‘prom’ for that student but made sure she had a dress and was dolled up for the occasion. Each year, she also oversees a school/community-wide boys’ volleyball tournament that raises money for student activities and collects non-perishable food for families in the community. Teachers like Molly make us all a little better and leave lasting impacts on the lives of their students forever.”
Collins earned a bachelor’s degree from Hope College and a master’s degree from Concordia University – Chicago. She has been an educator for nine years, all in her current position.
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.