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Love of reading earns Gurnee teacher $1,000

WoodlMiddle School Explore Reading teacher Megan Askew Round Lake discusses book 'Life as We Knew It' her 8th grade class

Woodland Middle School Explore Reading teacher Megan Askew of Round Lake discusses the book "Life as We Knew It" to her 8th grade class at the school in Gurnee. Eskew won the Heroes in the Classroom award which she received $1000 worth of supplies for her classroom. | Thomas Delany Jr.~ Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 26, 2013 2:39AM

A Woodland Middle School teacher was recently named a Hero in the Classroom for sharing her love of reading with students.

Megan Eskew, 28, of Round Lake is the school’s reading teacher. A co-worker nominated the six-year teaching veteran for Symetra Hero in the Classroom award. Washington-based financial company Symetra teams up with the Chicago Bears to honor Chicago area Heroes in the Classroom.

Winners can be teachers, school staff or parents who go above and beyond in their day-today responsibilities and to help students build life skills.

Eskew had no idea she won until she was presented with the award in front of her classroom.

“I was absolutely shocked. I had no idea that I had been nominated, let alone actually won. When they came in, I was just blown away,” said Eskew.

She is still deciding how to spend the $1,000 worth of classroom supplies. She also received a personalized Chicago Bears jersey and tickets to the Bears game in late November when they defeated the Minnesota Vikings.

Eskew had never been to a Bears game before. She brought her dad and they were given special treatment and appeared on the Jumbotron.

“I am a huge Bears fan. It was absolutely incredible. They allowed us to go on the field before the game during practice,” said Eskew. “It was such a great experience. It’s great that they won.”

She teaches exploratory reading for grades six through eight. This is her first teaching award.

She said her mother, who was a teacher while she was growing up, inspired her to pursue education.

“I would go with her and see her interact and read (to her students). That fostered my love instructing. It showed me that you can foster a love of reading,” said Eskew.

Co-worker Paulette Fallucca nominated Eskew for the award. Fallucca said Eskew has created a “top-notch reading program” that “boosts their (students’) confidence and challenges them to read beyond their limits.”

Woodland Middle School Assistant Principal Tiffany Drake said Eskew creates a love for reading within her students.

“When (students) leave her class, you can see the difference in their achievement. We were very excited (she won) because we knew she’s a big Bears fan. That was such an accomplishment,” said Drake.

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