Chris Bergen

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Chris Bergen, a Highland Community College auto instructor, receives 2019 VFW Smart/Maher National Citizenship Teacher Award.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) of the U.S. is pleased to announce Chris Bergen, a Highland Community College and Leavenworth High School auto-tech instructor, has been selected to receive the 2019 VFW Smart/Maher National Citizenship Teacher Award at the high school level.

Each year, the VFW contest will recognize one outstanding teacher in grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 for their commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students. Prime candidates include instructors who teach civic responsibility, flag etiquette and patriotism, and strive to help students develop a better understanding of democratic values and beliefs.

Bergen was chosen based on his “outstanding commitment to teaching, dedication to his students and support to his community,” according to Scholarship Chairman, Richard Caya.

To be nominated, you must be a teacher of grades K-12, teach citizenship education topics regularly and promote America’s history and traditions effectively.

“Mr. Bergen has a big heart and is always willing to step up for our community,” Jeff Pittman, the State Representative who nominated Berger, said. “In the auto-tech program, he will have kids work on cards for needy veterans. Every year, they have a goal to donate at least one if not two cars to a needy veteran somewhere in the community. He also invites veterans into work on cars side-by-side with students.”

From here, Bergen will represent the VFW Post 56 while competing in the Kansas district level 1 competition. If selected as the district winner, he will advance to the state competition then onto nationals.

The three winning teachers will each receive $1,000 for professional development expenses, $1,000 for their school, plaques for both the winning teacher and the school, as well as, an all-expenses-paid trip to the VFW’s National Convention.

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