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As the shutdowns and disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic enter their 15th month, it remains important to honor the exceptional work of those who have stepped up in difficult times. There are many groups that fit this description — including, of course, teachers, who have ably and repeatedly adjusted to changing educational environments and requirements.

That’s why we were happy to report this week that Bowling Green’s Compton Orthodontics chose to adapt its traditional award initiative — which has previously honored students who have consistently performed acts of kindness — into a recognition of educators who were identified as examples of “Excellence in Adversity.”

The teachers who earned the honors were Bowling Green Junior High School’s Bobbi Dotson, Bowling Green Learning and Virtual Academy’s Jennifer Lowe, Bristow Elementary School’s April Major, Jody Richards Elementary School’s Jen Green, Plano Elementary School’s Regina South, Potter Gray Elementary School’s Jennifer Hamilton and T.C. Cherry Elementary School’s Ann Bolin.

“Teachers have been super underappreciated this year,” said Kara Compton, spokeswoman for Compton Orthodontics. “We had to make the call back earlier in the year, and we were not sure students would be back in-person yet. Teachers have worked really hard to adapt. People don’t understand what they have gone through this year.”

Compton Orthodontics worked with administrators in the Bowling Green Independent and Warren County school districts to compile a list of nominees, then selected winners who were determined to have gone the extra mile during the pandemic — for example, by taking on extra workloads at school, by delivering food or supplies to students’ homes or by maintaining close virtual or phone contact with students to monitor their academic progress.

The teachers were presented with a $100 check and a gift basket containing various materials.

“It was a surprise just because I knew nothing about it,” said Bolin, a special education teacher. “It’s just really nice to be appreciated like this. It really goes a long way. My students were also very excited to see me win something. I’m super grateful, and it’s always nice to see someone in the community appreciating teachers.”

We agree, and while Compton Orthodontics isn’t the first — nor will it be the last — to do so locally, we appreciate the practice’s decision to turn its focus to educators this year, and we applaud the teachers whose efforts were recognized.

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