Klein ISD English Teacher Mike Keimig has been actively involved in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for nine years. To him, the Scholastic Awards provide his junior high students opportunities to publish their work, earn scholarships, and most importantly, find their voice and learn to enjoy writing.
This year, Keimig received the 2017 Susan O’Connor Award for Teaching Excellence, a prestigious award highlighting his exemplary work and commitment to expanding opportunities for creative young people through the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
The Susan O’Connor Award, named after writing teacher and Scholastic Awards advocate Susan O’Connor, is presented annually by Harris County Department of Education to one regional teacher who has made an impact on students’ lives through the Awards.
“I encourage my students to participate in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards because I’ve found they show amazing individual voice when presented with an opportunity to be heard,” said Keimig.
In addition to expanding opportunities through the Scholastic Awards, Keimig supports and challenges his students every day as their teacher. For Klein ISD parent Karen Dupont, Keimig has also become a mentor for her two boys, ninth grader Jacob and 11th grader David.
Keimig taught Jacob in eighth grade at Doerre Intermediate and continues to support him in high school. After being inspired to enter the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards by Keimig, Jacob discovered a passion for writing and received National Silver and Gold Key Writing Medals.
Although he didn’t teach Dupont’s oldest son David, Keimig tutors him for the English End-of-Course exam. Due to David’s Asperger’s, a form of autism, he needed additional help with writing. When Dupont reached out to Keimig he offered to tutor David without hesitation.
“Mr. Keimig has allowed David to make incredible strides in his written and spoken communication,” explains Dupont. “His help means so much to our family.”
Dupont adds that Keimig makes an impact on his students by challenging, motivating and supporting them and is a positive mentor for them at the intermediate age.
Keimig was recognized at the Regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Ceremony at the Alley Theater on March 25, where he was presented with a check for $500 from award namesake Susan O’Connor. He is also invited to attend the National Awards Ceremony along with his students at Carnegie Hall in New York City this summer.
“I’m so thankful for the wonderful opportunities my students have received from Harris County Department of Education and the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards,” said Keimig. “It truly does change young adults when they have opportunities to be recognized outside of the school setting.”
Founded in 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious educational initiative supporting student achievement in the visual and literary arts. The program has an impressive legacy of being the first to acknowledge creative talent and is today’s largest source of scholarships for creative teens. For more information on the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, visit www.hcde-texas.org/scholastic.