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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Conard chips in; Retired Uniontown teacher and Lowell Milken Center executive director contributes items to National Teacher Hall of Fame auction

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A former Uniontown teacher plans to contribute to an annual auction that raises money for the National Teachers Hall of Fame located in Emporia.

Norm Conard, a 2007 inductee into the NTHF and director of the Lowell Milken Center, is sponsoring a golf outing, dinner at the Lyons Mansion and a tour of the Lowell Milken Center -- items that will be part of the NTHF's annual auction that raises funds for its Hall of Fame induction ceremony in June.

"The Hall of Fame was a wonderful experience," Conard said. "It is full of wonderful educators from across the U.S."

The NTHF hosts an auction each year during American Education Week, which this year is Nov. 11-17. Teachers and school staff across the U.S. are celebrated each year during the week.

"American Education Week is people calling attention to the value of education and teachers," auction chairwoman and 2003 NTHF inductee Carol Strickland said.

All proceeds from the auction go toward the induction ceremony in Emporia, Strickland said. Annually, five of the nation's outstanding career teachers are selected by a committee and then honored in Washington, D.C., and Emporia with gala celebrations of teaching.

"Teachers come from all different backgrounds," Conard said. "Numerous applications come in each year across the country. The Hall of Fame pares it down to a certain number and a committee makes decisions using criteria based on many different areas," including creativity, innovation and expertise.

Strickland said nominated teachers must be living, have served in the classroom at least 20 years, and taught in a kindergarten-12 public or private school.

Funds raised from the auction pay for "transportation, food," and other costs for nominated teachers to attend week-long activities, culminating in the induction ceremony.

"It costs $25,000 to $30,000 to do it each year," Strickland said. "It goes toward (the) cost of getting teachers there and taking care of them once they're here ... They're treated royally and there's no out-of-pocket expense on their part."

Items such as condo stays and pampering packages are donated by several businesses and individuals, Strickland said.

This year's auction, the 21st annual event, is expected to be one of the biggest in history. More than 50 items in the silent auction will be on display at the Emporia State Federal Credit Union through Thursday during business hours, a news release said.

Bids on those items will close at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Photos of the items can be seen online at www.kvoe.com and staff members of the credit union will take phone bids at (620) 342-3333.

The live auction begins at 6:05 p.m. Thursday and will be carried live on radio station KVOE-AM 1400, livestreamed on www.kvoe.com, and carried live on local Channel 2 in Emporia. More than 80 items will be up for bid during the live auction.

"There is something for everyone in this year's auction, and we hope that people will watch, listen and bid," NTHF Executive Director Phil Bennett said in the release. "Items range from homemade ice cream, catered dinners, fitness packages, autographed items (including racing shoes from Emporia's own Clint Bowyer and a KU basketball) to condo stays in Colorado and North Carolina, pampering packages for people, pets and cars, and everything in between."

Strickland said organizers brought in about $14,000 in donations earlier this week. Items recently added to the auction include tickets to a Kansas City Chiefs game and jacket with Chiefs logo and a football autographed by Bill Snyder, head coach of the No. 1-ranked Kansas State Wildcats.

"Emporia and our out-of-town angels have been wonderful year after year to the Hall of Fame, donating exciting items and also participating in the bidding process," Strickland said. "We have lots of fun while trying to raise needed funds for the NTHF. Anyone who hasn't listened to or watched the live auction before is in for a treat. Ron Thomas of KVOE and his crew do a terrific job of keeping the auction going while being entertaining at the same time. We are truly grateful to everyone who makes this auction so successful."

Photos and lists of items for both the silent and live auction can be found at www.kvoe.com. Printed lists may be obtained from the NTHF office, KVOE Radio, the Emporia Chamber of Commerce, and Emporia Main Street.

Winning bidders will be notified Thursday and may pay by check, cash or credit card. All items will need to be paid for and picked up by Dec. 7, the release said.

The theme of American Education Week this year is "Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility," a call for all Americans to do their part in making public schools great for every child, the release said.

Conard said he has served on the NTHF selection committee twice. He retired following a 20-year career teaching social studies and video production in USD 235 in 2007 to start the Lowell Milken Center.

"It's such a real joy," he said. "It's an outstanding organization."

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