CARE Award - March 2019

By: Kristen Wohlers, Canby Herald

After a heartfelt nomination from a parent, Baker Prairie P.E. teacher Brooke Cates was honored with the March Canby Area Recognition of Excellence Award.

Every month, Canby Kiwanis and Canby School District honor a district staff member with this CARE award. Canby Kiwanis established it to provide opportunities to recognize individual teachers, counselors, coaches and other school staff who make a difference in the lives of others and in the community. The prospective recipients must be nominated, and the honoree is then decided by a CARE committee made up of members from Kiwanis and the community.

Cates was honored at the March school board meeting, where Superintendent Trip Goodall read aloud portions of the nomination letter.

"Mrs. Cates has shown my child compassion, understanding, guidance and love during a time when she has needed it most," the nomination said. "Brooke is one teacher she looks forward to seeing. She feels safe and supported by her. My child lights up when speaking about her, and Brooke has been a constant light during one of the darkest and most difficult times for her during this year."

The nomination continued, "Brooke is saving lives with her connection to her students. She doesn't even know it. Her impact on my child and our family is one we will forever be grateful for."

If, after 27 years of teaching, Cates in fact does not realize the deep impact she has on her students, Principal Jennifer Turner spoke up to further make it known.

"Every day you impact our students, and you advocate for P.E. and for physical health and mental health, and I appreciate that in you," Turner said. "Don't stop…I love watching you every day make a difference, so thank you."

As Cates received the accolades along with a plaque and a gift basket from local businesses, she took the opportunity to express how much both her work and the award mean to her.

"I always felt I had the dream job. I look forward to getting up every day and going to work…It's really the kids. They make my day," Cates said. "This just means the world to me. That letter is just amazing coming from a student's mom. Thank you very, very much. This means the world."

Cates received a plaque and a gift basket from local businesses in recognition of her work. Local sponsors of the CARE Award include Canby Kiwanis, State Farm Insurance-Matt Olsen, Columbia Bank, DirectLink, The Wild Hare, Backstop Bar & Grill, Rice Time, The Human Bean, Cutsforth Marketplace, Gwynn's Coffeehouse, Team Spirit and Puddin' River Chocolates.

To nominate someone who you believe is deserving of the CARE Award, nomination forms can be found on the district's website at