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Benefit party in Amherst honors exemplary elementary teachers

— The Roger L. Wallace Excellence In Teaching Award Committee will hold a benefit party Saturday at Hampshire College’s Red Barn to help raise money to continue the award honoring outstanding elementary school teaching.

“For years, there’s been an award at the high school for excellence in teaching, but there’s never been anything at the elementary level,” said Russ Vernon-Jones, a former principal at Fort River and Pelham Elementary schools and member of the award committee.

The event, which runs from 5 until 10 p.m., will include dancing, hors d’oeuvres and an auction.

The first award — a stipend of $750 — will be given to an elementary school teacher chosen by his or her peers, Vernon-Jones said. The committee put out a call for nominations, which is open to anyone who teaches in Amherst or Pelham, he said. Future stipends will be determined based on the amount of money raised for the endowment, which currently sits at just over $10,000. The committee’s goal is to increase that to $25,000, Vernon-Jones said.

The award honors Roger Wallace, a former teacher who retired from Fort River Elementary School last June after 39 years of service.

“Roger was an outstanding teacher,” Vernon-Jones said. “I think it’s very fitting that the award is named in his honor.”

— TOM RELIHAN

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