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Gr8 Acts of Kindness winner goes the distance for students during the pandemic

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 10:58 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - She was tasked with a job where frustration could make or break many a child’s learning abilities during the early days of the pandemic.

But Nettleton STEAM technology teacher and third-grade instructor Brooke Brewer met the challenge head-on and never looked back.

The Greene County Tech and Arkansas State graduate has taught in Blytheville and as far away as Florida.

But, according to Miss Brewer, she feels right at home in the Nettleton School District.

“Go ahead and hit the home button on your iPad,” Brewer tells her students who are learning how to write thank-you notes.

Brewer lives to teach.

“You’re welcome. Thank you for helping Ellie,” Brewer said.

Kindness is as much a part of the learning in her classroom as the subject she teaches.

“You’re so awesome,” Brewer said.

“She always has fun stuff to do and our whole class enjoys her,” Collins Baker, a third-grader in Brewer’s class, said.

But the joy of teaching was put to the test when COVID hit with a vengeance last year.

“It was not only difficult for the children; but the families because it was such a switch,”

“Go ahead and hit the home button on your iPad.” Brooke Brewer lives to teach. “You’re welcome. Thank you for helping Ellie.”

“It was not only difficult for the children; but the families because it was such a switch,” Cathelene Gray, principal of Nettleton STEAM, said.

“Sometimes there would be sweet little faces and sometimes they were just those blank screens with the circle in the middle and we would just chat and I would say let me see your cute faces... I don’t care if you have bed head. I don’t care if you’re still in your pajamas,” Brewer said.

Brewer volunteered, alongside another teacher, to head up distance learning for the school.

She didn’t just teach in the classroom—but online every school day juggling parent questions from morning until late at night.

“Hello my little angels! I am so happy you are here,” Brewer says to students in an online video she made for her students during the pandemic.

Brewer would read books and teach using the online platform.

“First thing that I would say when I signed on was that ‘I love you. Have a great day! Go work hard,” Brewer explained. But, her voice was the calm in the storm.

“Hey, my amazing humans...” Brewer announced as she welcomed students online for another lesson during the pandemic.

She reached out through the computer screen—even reading stories to them over Christmas break, writing personal notes of encouragement sent to their homes, and making goodie bags.

“Anytime that anyone was struggling, or needed help, she was always there,” Gray said. “We had to tell her. You’re gonna have to set some boundaries for yourself; because she’s just an overachiever and she gives 110%.”

Fillip Mull noticed and told his mother that Miss Brewer should be nominated for the Gr8 Acts of Kindness.

“She’s just a good teacher,” Mull said. “She makes digital learning fun. How so?” I asked Fillip. “She just always made everything fun.” he said. So, I asked Fillip to lead the way to her classroom, and a huge surprise!

“You weren’t expecting this?” I asked Brewer. She shakes her head.

“No, not at all,” she said.

“This is a big crowd for a big day to recognize an outstanding educator,” I said.

Brewer wipes tears from her eyes.

“Twenty years from now, these kids will look back at what you did for them and that’s encouragement for the parents,” I said to Brewer.

“When you love on our kids, you touch our hearts!” I said to Brewer. “And there isn’t anything more important than that. That is why you are the next winner in the Gr8 Acts of Kindness.”

The prize money, $408, is counted into Brewer’s hand, the pay-off for winning the Gr8 Acts of Kindness, sponsored by First Community Bank and KAIT.

“Congratulations!” announced David Daniel, business development officer with First Community Bank. “Congratulations!” echos the children in Brewer’s classroom as they rush to hug her around the waist.

If you would like to nominate someone for the Gr8 Acts of Kindness, click this link.

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