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Credit union offers prizes to outstanding teachers, schools

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- OnPoint Community Credit Union announced Tuesday the kickoff of its 11th annual OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education. The campaign will award up to $100,000 this year to outstanding public or private K-12 teachers and schools, including paying the mortgage of the two winning teachers for one full year.

The nomination period opened Tuesday and concludes on April 14. Click here to nominate an individual or special project.

“OnPoint was founded in 1932 by 16 schoolteachers and we honor their legacy today through our continued investment in quality education for the communities we serve,” said Rob Stuart, President and Chief Executive Officer, OnPoint Community Credit Union. “We recognize our region’s talented educators each year to not only celebrate our roots, but also to showcase the impact of a great education.”

OnPoint has awarded more than $370,000 in prizes to 260 local educators and schools since it began the Prize for Excellence in Education in 2009. Winners will be announced on Thursday, May 28, 2020 at a reception with live KGW coverage. This year’s prizes include:

  • Educators of the Year:
    • Grand Prize: Two teachers (one K–8 and one 9–12) will have their mortgages paid for one full year and $2,500 donated to their schools.
    • Finalists: Two teachers (one K–8 and one 9–12) will each receive a $5,000 cash award and $1,500 for their schools.
  • Circle of Excellence: Six additional teachers will be named to the Circle of Excellence and will each receive a $1,500 cash award and $1,000 for their schools.
  • Community Builder Awards
    • Four schools will receive $2,000 for a special project of their choice.
    • A fifth school, selected by community votes, will receive $5,000.

Last year’s winners of Educators of the Year were Francesca Aultman, 5th grade teacher at Gilbert Heights Elementary School in the Portland Public School District, and Tori Sharpe, English, AVID and ELL teacher at Skyview High School in the Vancouver School District. 

Aultman is described as a “beacon of equity” for her students. She was recognized by OnPoint last year for helping students overcome their struggles, build confidence and achieve their goals.  

"Winning the OnPoint Prize has alleviated so much financial pressure on my husband and me; he is also a teacher,” said Aultman. “This award has made everything a little bit more manageable and has allowed us to make real progress on our financial goals – a huge gift. Thank you OnPoint for your support of my family and the region’s education community.”

Sharpe inspires learning and creativity in her class and her entire community. She engages her students in the way that is best for them, whether it be through pop culture, stories, music or other creative teaching tools.    

“The OnPoint Prize has changed my life,” said Sharpe. “It freed me up to do some of the charity work I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time. Courts for Kids is an organization that builds courts for kids in underprivileged areas around the world that eventually become community spaces. Because they’re international trips, they’re quite expensive. When I won the OnPoint Prize, it became a real possibility.”

Bridger Elementary School’s Scholars Program was selected by the community last year to receive OnPoint’s $2,000 Community Builder award. In addition, OnPoint selected four additional schools to receive the $1,000 Community Builder award. Last year’s winners include Molalla High School for its Friendship Courtyard, Prescott Elementary School for its SUN School Homework project, Tucker Maxon School for its Special Needs Projector and Sound System, and Vose Elementary for its Ballet Folklorico After School Club.

Information about the OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education and nomination forms are now available at www.onpointprize.com. Anyone can nominate an educator, and educators may also nominate themselves. Applicants must be a full-time or job-share classroom teacher, counselor or librarian of grades K-12 in an accredited public, private or charter school located within any county that OnPoint serves (Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington and Yamhill counties in Oregon, and Clark and Skamania counties in Washington). For information about the campaign, additional qualifications and contest rules, please see www.onpointprize.com.

In addition to the Prize for Excellence in Education, OnPoint supports regional education in many other ways, including:

  • Helping De La Salle North Catholic High School students gain valuable real-life work experience
  • Collecting school supplies and cash donations at branch locations for Schoolhouse Supplies; and
  • Supporting Babies With Books, where student leaders to give out books and share the value of reading in Randall Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

OnPoint also partners with Financial Beginnings, Junior Achievement, and Portland Workforce Alliance to provide financial literacy and workforce development education. In 2019, OnPoint employees used 485 paid volunteer hours for financial education efforts, impacting 3,500 students.

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