Mr. Len Kenyon was nominated by 7th grader Sammie Rowland for the 2011 Teacher of the Year Award from the Miami Soil and Conservation District. Sammie wrote an outstanding essay about Mr. Kenyon and explained why she felt he was so deserving of Teacher of the Year. The “Green Gals” who consists of: Dana Wolfe & Barb Bierly from the Troy Daily News, Karen Kelly/McDonalds and Cindy Back/Miami County Recycling came to Tippecanoe Middle School Tuesday, May 10th and presented both Mr. Kenyon and Sammie with the award and gifts. Below is Sammie’s essay.

The first time I walked into Mr. Kenyon’s class room at the beginning of my 6th grade year I knew he was special. I don’t know if it was because of all the animals he had in his classroom or the exercise balls for chairs; maybe it was just the way his room was set up so different than any other classroom at my school with bright blue and green walls as well. I have always felt lucky to have Mr. Kenyon as my teacher.
My favorite way to learn is hands-on and in Mr. Kenyon’s class, I got to do that every day. When I walked into his room each day, I knew there would be a new topic to explore, “the Mr. Kenyon way”. Instead of reading and answering questions, we actually got to be the story, we got to be the experiment. With his help, we asked and then answered our own questions through our own investigations. I don’t think that we even knew at the time that we were doing that. These are the things that make Mr. Kenyon so special.
Mr. Kenyon helped us transform our overgrown school courtyard into a beautiful garden for all the school to enjoy. He taught us how to take care of and nurture our environment. We learned how to care for all the plants and animals, such as baby birds, in our garden. There was also one very special trip where we visited a local neighborhood to protect our rivers. With spray paint and stencils in hand, we labeled every drain, “DO NOT DUMP ! DRAINS TO RIVER”. Mr. Kenyon taught us that dumping household waste into the storm drains harms the environment and wild life in our rivers. I hadn’t known that until Mr. Kenyon pointed it out.
Like our beautiful garden, I believe that Mr. Kenyon was teaching us how to care for our small space so that someday we could apply what we learned to the wherever we might be. From one river to all the oceans and from our small garden to all of nature that surrounds us.
The school year that I had with Mr. Kenyon inspired me to be kinder to nature. He has also inspired me to become a science teacher when I grow up and teach kids just like he does, with their hands; to become the story. I was disappointed to leave Mr. Kenyon’s class when my sixth grade year was over. I could see that his students really wanted to learn what he was teaching. His class was the part of the day that I always looked forward to the most. He will always be my favorite science teacher and the things that I learned in his class will stay with me forever.