Joe Peccia, former principal at Delray Beach’s Pine Grove Elementary School, initiated the program originally called the “Snickers Awards” in 2015. The program was conceived as a fun, celebratory way to honor the hard work of public elementary school teachers who often go unrecognized. Delray Beach residents Chuck Halberg and Stephen Greene helped Peccia by donating the financial component of the prize. At the beginning of the second half of the 2015 school year Ted Hoskinson joined Halberg and Greene.
The program was inspiring to all involved, and after Hoskinson had established Roots and Wings he asked the other two if he could expand the program to all of the public elementary schools in Delray. They graciously allowed him to take over the implementation of this expansion. The program name was changed to the Above and Beyond Awards, to signify that the honorees had in fact gone above and beyond in helping their students.
In the 2016 school year Roots and Wings went monthly to six of the public elementary schools in Delray Beach: Morikami Park, Orchard View, Pine Grove, Village Academy, Plumosa School for the Arts, and Banyan Creek. We honored three teachers at each school monthly. The principals of each of the schools picked the winners, many times with the help of faculty and staff. Each school also honored several staff members during the course of the year. Members of our organization went into the teacher’s classrooms to present the award to the teacher after the Principal has announced in front of their class that they are a winner. The Principal often cited examples of how that teacher has in fact gone above and beyond for their students.
For the 2017 school year Roots and Wings has decided to expand the Program again to include the two public middle schools and the two public high schools. Instead of going monthly, we will go less often but award six teacher awards and one staff award each time we go.
Theodore Hoskinson knows what it is like to go above and beyond in the classroom. That’s because he is a former fourth grade teacher.
Now, he is giving back to current elementary school teachers who rise above in their classrooms through his new nonprofit Roots and Wings Inc.
But, the idea to go into classrooms and recognize teachers isn’t his. It’s the brainchild of Chuck Halberg and Stephen Greene, who created what they dubbed the “Snickers Award” last year. It got the name because they would present a bag with two $50 gift cards and a Snickers bar to a deserving teacher at Pine Grove Elementary.
When he heard about the program, Hoskinson said he knew he wanted to expand it to all Delray elementary schools.
He said he and his wife knew they wanted to set up an endowment fund after they died that would go toward elementary education. After, his wife died in April, he said he got a jump-start on that promise.
He renamed the awards to the “Above and Beyond” awards after he said Mars, which owns Snickers didn’t want to participate in the program. He also swapped out the gift cards for two “crisp $50 bills” and puts about 30 Hershey kisses inside the bag for the teacher to share with their classroom.
“I think the most important thing is giving,” he said. “You go out for dinner and spend over $100 and you don’t get as much of a reward as you do from this. It’s the kind of stuff you just live for.”