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First Excellence in Teaching honor awarded
"Mark Racicot, center, accepts the first Excellence in Teaching Mentorship Award from donors Debora Valis, left, and Steve Shapiro.South Whidbey High School teacher Mark Racicot was presented the first annual Endowment for Excellence in Teaching Mentorship Award of the South Whidbey Schools Foundation during the South Whidbey High School Senior Awards Assembly June 7. The award was established by Steve Shapiro, MD, and his wife, Debora Valis, who have lived in the community since 1976 and are owners of Island Athletic Club. The purpose is to acknowledge and honor the leadership, mentorship and inspiration of specific South Whidbey teachers.Racicot teaches math, physics, astronomy and drafting at SWHS. He has a degree in physics from Claremont-McKenna College and has taught in the district for 29 years. Shapiro and Valis established the endowment with a commitment of $10,000 over three years with the South Whidbey Schools Foundation to permanently establish a financial basis for the Mentorship Award. Racicot received a $500 cash award. We hope the award will be the beginning of a tradition to recognize and reward the excellent teachers of the South Whidbey School District, Shapiro said. Candidates for the award will be nominated by members of the senior class.The couple invites others to make tax-deductible contributions to the South Whidbey Schools Foundation to support the award, with the hope that additional contributions will mean more than one teacher could be recognized each year for his or her role and influence in the lives of their students. Donations may be sent to SWSF at P.O. Box 27, Clinton, WA 98236. "