Motivated by a national mandate that the country have an educated citizenry that understands the legislative process, retired Skyview High School teacher Dave Carey encouraged his students to get out of the classroom and into the community to learn and to serve.
Last week, two of the largest veterans’ organizations in the country recognized him as the top educator in the state of Alaska for 2005-06.
The American Legion “Educator of the Year” award was presented to Carey during a general meeting of Kenai Legion Post No. 20 on July 24.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Outstanding Educator Award was presented to Carey also mayor of Soldotna at Soldotna City Hall on July 26 by Soldotna VFW Post No. 10046 Service Officer Herb Stettler.
In June, Carey received the VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award during the organization’s state convention.
Stettler, who also is the service officer for the American Legion post, said it is the first time anyone has received the top educator awards from both organizations in Alaska in the same year.
The VFW award citation says in part: “Teachers change our society one day, one class lesson, one student at a time. There’s no more important job. And there’s no one who does the role better.”
“I focused on bringing my students out of the classroom and into the community,” said Carey, who retired last year after a 25-year teaching career.
In addition to assigning students to attend Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, school board and city council meetings, Carey encouraged them to volunteer to help serve meals to peninsula veterans annually for the past seven years during veterans appreciation dinners at Skyview High School and the Soldotna Sports Center.
For the past five years, students were invited to decorate the fence in Soldotna’s Parker Park with a patriotic theme each Christmas.
Carey said he also brought active members of the military into the classroom from time to time to speak to students firsthand about what is happening in war zones such as Iraq.
Part of his interest in patriotism and in the military stems from the fact that Carey’s father, Lt. Cmdr. David Carey, was killed while serving as a U.S. Navy pilot during Operation Deep Freeze in 1956 at McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.
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