Manila educator receives Besse Moore Award

Thursday, October 9, 2008
LeAnn Helms and daughter Chloe.

LeAnn Helms, civics and American history teacher at Manila High School, has been selected to receive the Besse Moore Award, sponsored by Economics Arkansas. Economics Arkansas is sponsored through Arkansas Public Schools, banks, and major corporations. Economics Arkansas (through the Arkansas Council on Economic Education) is a private, non-profit, non-partisan, educational organization founded in 1962 to promote economic literacy in Arkansas.

There are two divisions of recognition, Newcomer and Veteran. Helms was named in the Newcomer division for embedding economics into civics and American history.

Six teachers per region in Pre-K-12 are selected in the Newcomers vision and three per region is selected in the Veterans Division.

The awards program honors outstanding teachers for their success in relating economic principles to students' real life experiences. This program, named in honor of Dr. Bessie B. Moore, continues her legacy of respect and admiration for the teaching profession and those dedicated educators who go above and beyond the norm in preparing students for the real world.

Helms wrote a grant last year and the follow-up report was used for her nomination. Helms received word on Tuesday she had been selected for the prestigious award by Superintendent Pam Castor and High School Principal Pam Chipman.

Through the program educators throughout Arkansas are honored. There will be a banquet in honor of the recipients on Dec. 5.

"I feel honored to receive the award," Helms said.

Helms has been teaching for six years, four in the Manila District. She teaches civics, American history and world history. She has always wanted to be a teacher and is very happy where she is.

"I want every student to see history come alive," she said.

For the last three years she sponsored a history fair and it has been very successful.

"We had 300 students involved in last year's event," she said.

In addition to the classroom, Helms is a sponsor of Operation 2011 and Operation 2012, a mentoring program in its second year.

"We have seen good things from this program and I am pleased to be part of it," she said. She also sponsors the student council.

The 1999 graduate of Manila High School received an AA Degree from Arkansas Northeastern College, a BSC in social studies from Arkansas State University and a MED from Union University in Tennessee.

Helms and her husband, Danny, live in Lepanto. He is the youth minister at Harrisburg Calvary. They have a daughter, Chloe, 8 months. Helms is the daughter of Roger and Judy Ferrell of West Ridge.

"We are very proud for her to represent our school," Principal Chipman said. "She works very hard in our system and it is a deserving award. She is a great asset to Manila High School. It is a great honor for her to receive this award."

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