The students of Susan Hamrick's class at Hotchkiss K-8 School received a special treat when they were visited on Sept. 14 by U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Steve (Randy) Allyn. The class had written cards and letters and sent a Christmas package to the former Hotchkiss High School student last year.
Allyn presented students with a plaque made of the material that formed a wall around their compound in Afghanistan. The students' names are all on one side of the plaque. The back side of the plaque is an "Outstanding Teacher Award" for Ms. Hamrick, who retired last spring after 23 years as an educator. She continues to stay involved with the school and works half-time as a librarian. "She truly is Hotchkiss Pride," said principal Carrie Yantzer.
On the back of the plaque, Allyn thanks Hamrick with "sincere gratitude for the compassion, guidance, and wisdom you brought to so many students' lives daily! Your shining spirit will never be matched!"
"Your education is like this material, protecting you for the future," Allyn told the students. "You can get no better education anywhere than here in this valley. And you can be anything you want to be."
Allyn is the son of Steve and Connie Allyn of Paonia.