Debbie's Photos

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Meet Debbie from Anaheim, California

A high school teacher from Anaheim, CA, Debbie Stikeleather requested $3,000 for books for her students. In her application, Debbie told us...

"Nine years ago, after twenty years of teaching honors history and English, I decided to teach reading as so many ninth and tenth grade students struggle so much in this area. Without reading skills, students cannot succeed in any academic area. The solution is giving them books that they love to read."

And that’s exactly what Debbie did. She personally selected every title and they have been ordered and are on the way. Debbie was excited to tell her students, and we are excited to help.

Diary Starts Here

May 28, 2008
It's not often I get to meet one of our heroes in person but today was the day. Debbie, together with fellow teachers Paul Spittler and Melissa Graham, took all their students to the Los Angeles Zoo today. Debbie had already invited me to come to the school in Anaheim, which I was not able to do, but she wondered if I might be able to meet everyone at the zoo since it's much closer. It was a chance to meet all of her reading students and I said I'd be there. So Damon and I headed for the zoo this morning and shortly after we arrived, three yellow school buses pulled up. I recognized Debbie right away from her picture, and then I climbed into each bus and what an awesome experience it was! I met over a hundred students, many of them holding the books they had received, thanking me for the chance to read. How about that? Kids who were thanking me because they could read more books! It's moments like this that make Jenny's Heroes so worthwhile. The class presented me with a huge Thank You card loaded with signatures.

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The best thing was an envelope I received, full of personal letters written by the students, each one saying thank you and telling me which books were their favorites and why.

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I read the letters on the way home and almost cried from joy. These books made a difference. Debbie Stikeleather made a difference. She selected books these kids can relate to and it worked. In talking to her, it's clear she loves her job and I hope her students know how lucky they are to have a teacher who motivates them and cares so much about their future... a future that's even brighter now, thanks to Mrs. Stikeleather. And thanks to Damon we have pictures of the whole get-together at the zoo.

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4/04: Jenny wrote... "Debbie, what an honorable choice you made to be a teacher. I hope your students know how lucky they are to have someone take the time you did to provide exactly what they need. Congratulations."

4/04: Damon wrote... "Congratulations, Debbie. The Katella High School students are so lucky to have you. Your profession is so important to the future of our world, and I just wanted to say thank you for all the wonderful things you do."

4/05: Anthony wrote... "Nice Job, Debbie. With all the recent education cuts recently, it's awesome to see a teacher who not only believes in her students, but a teacher who reaches out on her own to captivate on a blessing that Jenny Jones is providing."

4/07: Anne wrote... " Deb, I always knew you were the coolest teacher out there! Thanks for applying for this program to get these great books for your students. And thanks to Jenny for picking a winner!"

4/07: Debbie Stikeleather wrote... " Thanks, Anne and Anthony! I would be remiss if I did not thank my husband Jim for helping me to check for AR tests and prices. My son, Joe, retyped the original list into Word to make it easier for other teachers to use. Jim, Danny, and Joe are my heroes as they have always helped me to help my students. Thank you! I also want to thank Damon who had to retype the entire list again! Thank you! And Jenny, thank you for sponsoring this wonderful program. Debbie"

4/07: Terri wrote... "Hi Debbie, so many times nowadays students are not provided the level of education they need and deserve. Thanks for recognizing a problem and reaching out to do something about it. Congratulations!"

7/25: Janet & Greg Chapluk wrote... "How proud we are of your efforts to secure reading materials for your students. Increasing reading opportunities for students will definitely enhance vocabulary development, improve writing skills and foster a life-long enjoyment in the simple pleasure of discovery through books. Jim, Danny, and Joe are also to be commended for their roles in helping you to accomplish this achievement."