Kristin Schaub, Harford County Public Schools' Teacher of the Year for the 2013-2014 school year, was surrounded by current and former students and their families Tuesday evening at the Havre de Grace McDonald's.
The restaurant off Pulaski Highway was decorated with balloons and filled with families chowing down on McDonald's fare for McDonald's McTeacher of the Year Night.
Schaub, a fifth-grade teacher at Havre de Grace Elementary School, said people began coming into the restaurant around 5 p.m.
"It's just been one big party since then," she said.
The event was hosted by McDonald's Family Restaurants of Greater Baltimore, which held similar events for six other local Teachers of the Year in the Baltimore area.
Schaub was named Teacher of the Year for Harford County in March, and the state's Teacher of the Year Gala is scheduled to for Oct. 11.
McDonald's is an "official sponsor" for the Maryland State Department of Education, and the McDonald's Family Restaurants of Maryland is the sponsor of the Teacher of the Year Annual Cruise and Gala, according to a press release.
The Maryland Teacher of the Year for 2013-2014 will receive an iPad tablet and a $10,000 donation for his or her school, courtesy of McDonald's Family Restaurants of Maryland.
On Tuesday, Kevin Morrow, operations supervisor for McDonald's restaurants in Harford and Cecil counties, and Evangeline Butler, general manager of the Havre de Grace restaurant, presented Schaub with a $500 gift certificate to purchase school supplies, flowers and McCafe coupons and accessories.
Butler, who read from prepared remarks during the gift certificate presentation, said McDonald's officials are "committed to making a positive impact in the community in which we do business."
"Kristin [Schaub] is not someone who just teaches lessons to her students, rather she is a mentor, a positive force in students' lives to help them grow socially and mentally," Butler continued.
The McTeacher event also served as a fundraiser for Havre de Grace Elementary; McDonald's donated $946, matching a portion of sales raised during the event, according to a press release issued Wednesday.
A McTeacher night was also held Tuesday at the McDonald's off Route 40 in Elkton for the Cecil County Teacher of the Year, Steven Luthultz of Holly Hall Elementary School.
McDonald's donated $951 from that event to Holly Hall.
Schaub has taught at Havre de Grace since 2004 and is known for incorporating activities such as singing, dancing and hands-on learning into her classroom instruction methods.
Former student Cameron Doucette, who lives in North East, said he "actually learned a lot in her class."
Cameron is 11 years old and in sixth grade.
His mother, Jennifer Doucette, called Schaub "wonderful."
"It was his best year in elementary school," she said of her son's time in Schaub's classroom.
Margaret Dawson of Havre de Grace also gave Schaub high praise.
"She takes the time with each and every child... she has all the time in the world for them," Dawson said.
Dawson came to the McTeacher event with her twin grandsons, Kyle and Shawn Dawson, 12, her granddaughter, Amber Dawson, 7, her great-grandson Logan Dawson, 1, and her husband, Larry Hawkins.
Kyle and Shawn, who are in seventh grade at Havre de Grace Middle School, had Schaub for fifth grade.
"She's really nice, and if you're having trouble with anything she'll help you until you get it right," Shawn said.
Kyle added that "her classes were a lot of fun."
The boys said Schaub devised ways to help them with math concepts such as long division and multiplying large numbers.
She also set up activities for her students such as a school-wide scavenger hunt.
"It was really fun," Shawn recalled. "It was better than sitting in class going through a flip chart."
Margaret Dawson said she hoped Schaub remained at Havre de Grace through the time when Amber, a second grader at the school, and Logan enter the fifth grade.
"Her teaching techniques are amazing," Dawson said.
Schaub said she was glad to see the Havre de Grace community come out Tuesday night, and noted that even before she was named Teacher of the Year "the city always supports us so well."
"I think this just opened it up even more to feel their support," she said of the Teacher of the Year nod.