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Lincoln Elementary educator recognized as Ogden School District’s teacher of the year

By Rob Nielsen - | May 4, 2024

Rob Nielsen, Standard-Examiner

Students in the kindergarten class of Lincoln Elementary School teacher Kimberly Pickett, in blue and white at right, volunteer to be the first to drive the brand new 2024 Mazda CX-5 that she was leased by Young Mazda as recipient of Ogden School District's Teacher of the Year award, bestowed to her Friday, May 3, 2024.

OGDEN — Kimberly Pickett has taught kindergarten students at Lincoln Elementary School for more than two decades.

On Friday, she received a huge recognition for those efforts.

During the school’s end-of-year awards ceremony, Pickett was announced at the Ogden School District’s teacher of the year. But rather than just receiving a certificate, she also was presented with a much bigger prize — a one-year, all-expenses-paid lease on a 2024 Mazda CX-5 from Young Mazda.

As hundreds of children cheered, Pickett led her thrilled kindergarten class out to the vehicle. Everyone in her class raised their hands in excitement when they were asked who wanted to take the car for a drive first.

Pickett, who’s taught kindergarten at Lincoln Elementary for 21 years, said she’s had the chance to see many of her students grow over the years.

“All of my kindergarten babies are growing up,” she said. “They work. They say, ‘Hey, Mrs. Pickett’ at McDonald’s, ‘Hey, Mrs. Pickett’ at Walmart. That’s cool. They’re just 21 years older.”

She said it’s much appreciated to see local businesses recognizing teachers in the community.

“I love any support that teachers can get from the outside community,” she said. “It’s so welcome and appreciated. To get cars, that’s crazy. We are very simple. Thank yous are OK for teachers. As long as you say ‘thank you’ and that we’re appreciated, you smile at us, whatever — it makes our heart happy. To have organizations actually give back is incredible.”

Pickett said she was shocked to receive the car but described it as “pretty” and “exactly me” and plans to take a few drives in the mountains.

Young Mazda General Manager Ryan Albert told the Standard-Examiner said the business is humbled to work with the community and recognize those who contribute so much to it.

“It’s just a simple way to give back and let the community, teachers and everyone else know how much we truly do appreciate them,” he said. “It really is just a small token of our appreciation and it’s so much fun. We really do enjoy doing this.”

The best part about Friday morning, he added, was the reactions of the children.

“It’s always fun when you can walk into a room with a bunch of kids who are excited for their teachers that help influence them,” he said. “The energy that kids bring, it’s just really fun. And then to see them engage the way that they do with these events and to show the passion they have for the positive influences in their life, like their teachers, it’s so fun to be part of.”

This marked the second year that Young Mazda has leased a car to the teacher of the year recipient.

But as Pickett looks forward to driving her new car for the next year, she said there’s ultimately one thing driving her in her teaching career.

“The little babies,” she said. “They keep you young, naturally. They don’t let you rest, so you’re just going, going, going all the time and you just keep coming back to it.”


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