Teachers, students, friends and family gathered Thursday night at the Catonsville campus of Community College of Baltimore County for the second annual Outstanding Teacher Awards.
The ceremony, hosted by the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce, honored four teachers and one group of teachers for exceptional work both inside and outside the classroom.
Many distinguished guests gave praise to the nominees including Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, Dels. Steven DeBoy and James Malone Jr. and Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools, Dr. Dallas Dance.
"We know the work is hard," Dance said to the crowd of over 150 people. "We know that great teachers don't go into this profession to get paid."
"Great teachers understand that in order to make a difference in the lives of young people, yes the curriculum is important, yes safety is important, but the relationship I have with you (the student) is the most important feature," he said.
"These are teachers every single day who treat young people like their own children," Dance said of the nominees.
Teal Cary, executive director of the chamber, announced the five winners from over 30 nominees.
The Distinguished Service Award went to Catonsville Middle School teacher Barbara Bates for her work with both the Westchester Elementary and Catonsville Middle Parent Teacher Student Associations, coaching both field hockey and lacrosse and for co-chairing the anti-bullying program at Catonsville Middle.
"Barbara inspires her students not only to achieve in the classroom but also to be active in the community," Cary said.
Paul Newman, Bryan Burns and Joel Miller of the Catonsville High School Special Education Department won the Teams that Make a Difference Award for their innovative uses of technology to advance education for students with special needs.
Andrea German, the special education department chair at Catonsville High, said the three have worked hard to make sure every student gets the attention they need.
"We want to be in the cutting edge of education," German said.
"We believe, as we should, every student has a gift and is capable of learning," she said.
Linda Judson of Our Lady of Victory, music teacher Dan Baker of St. Agnes Catholic School and math teacher John Maienshein of Catonsville High School won the Teacher of the Year Awards for elementary, middle and high school respectively.
Both Judson and Maienshein were unable to attend the event and, unknowingly, had school representatives receive their awards for them.
Mary Carol Greenwalt, math department chair at Catonsville High, accepted Maienshein's award and Office Administrator Wendy Alley and Vice Principal Luisa Zapanta of Our Lady of Victory accepted Judson's award on her behalf.
Alley and Zapanta said they were throwing a surprise acceptance party for Judson at the school Friday morning.
"She has no idea," Alley said.