March 28, 2023 — Kathleen Leeper and her students received quite a surprise this week when H-E-Buddy and others entered her classroom — with a big check in tow.
"When I saw H-E-Buddy come through the door, I knew something special was about to happen," Leeper said.
Leeper, who teaches Life Skills at Legacy High School, was chosen as a finalist to receive H-E-B's Excellence in Education award for Leadership. On Monday, March 20, representatives from the Texas-based grocery chain visited Leeper in her classroom to make the big announcement and award her $1,000. The campus also received $1,000.
This is the second time Leeper has been an Excellence in Education finalist. She previously was nominated by a student's parents in the Rising Star category during her time as a special education teacher at Milam Elementary. This year, she was nominated by a fellow teacher in the Leadership category, which honors educators with 10 to 20 years of experience.
Leeper has worked 13 years in education, the past six at LHS. The entirety of her career has focused on special education. Leeper says she was drawn to special education because she has a special needs child herself. What keeps her dedicated to these students is overcoming the false idea that they have plateaued.
"The goal of Life Skills classes is to train them to have good lives," Leeper said. "It's our job to not give up on them and think that they've plateaued.
"We, as adults, are never done learning," she added. "If we can learn new things, so can our kids. We teach them wherever they are."
About Excellence in Education
Created in 2002, the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards are designed to honor outstanding public school professionals and to thank them for their dedication and commitment. Since the program’s inception, H-E-B has awarded nearly $13 million in funding to benefit outstanding Texas public schools and Early Childhood facilities. Winners will be announced at the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards ceremony April 30 at the La Cantera Resort and Spa in San Antonio.