M&T Bank Group VP for Retail Banking (WNY) Jim Jarosz, Finalist Mike Wilson (Pembroke Central School), Winner Scott Hazelton (Forestville Central School), Finalist Lori Gramza (Alden High School), Finalist Carol Clark (St. Mary's School for the Deaf) and Finalist Jeremy Barkley (Heim Middle School)
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.— The Buffalo Bills and M&T Bank announced and honored the seventh annual M&T Bank Touchdown for Teachers program finalists and winner at the Bills private Fan Fest event on May 2 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The M&T Bank Touchdown for Teachers program honors teachers for their outstanding service to their schools and communities. Honorees are chosen based on their amount of involvement in their school or community, degree of positive impact on their school or community and their demonstrated commitment to education. Of the over 200 nominations received, the following teachers were announced as finalists:
• Jeremy Barkley, Heim Middle School, Williamsville, NY
• Carol Clark, St. Mary's School for the Deaf, Buffalo NY
• Lori Gramza, Alden High School, Alden, NY
• Scott Hazelton, Forestville Central School, Forestville, NY
• Mike Wilson, Pembroke Central School, Corfu, NY
The grand prize was awarded to Scott Hazelton, a 2nd grade teacher at Forestville Elementary School in Forestville, NY, and he will receive a $2,000 grant and a classroom appearance by a Bills player. Because of his involvement in numerous school and community programs, Hazelton received nominations from fellow colleagues, former students and parents. In addition to being a 2nd grade teacher, Scott serves as Forestville's Athletic Director, editor of district's newsletter and is a 17-year committee member of the Parents as Reading Partners program. He is also involved in organizations such as Bald for Bucks, Special Olympics and Cans for Cancer, which has helped raise thousands of dollars for those in need. Scott has been described as a model teacher and team player who continues to give his heart and soul to the students and families of the Forestville community.
Each of the four remaining finalists received $500 in grant funds to use towards furthering their impact on their schools and communities.
"We applaud Mr. Hazleton's dedication to both the students in his classroom and to the Forestville community," said Jim Jarosz, Group Vice President for Retail Banking in Western New York. "Without question, teachers like this year's finalists make Touchdown for Teachers a worthy investment in honoring the role of educators by recognizing their extraordinary teaching abilities and the important role they play in their communities."
"The M&T Bank Touchdown for Teachers program continues to be one of the most rewarding programs for the Buffalo Bills" said Erica Muhleman, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships. "Being able to honor well-deserving teachers coincides with the focus that both M&T Bank and the Bills have in recognizing outstanding educators in our area. Congratulations to Scott on his exemplary work in the classroom and community."