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Baltimore Ravens honor Westminster High School special education teacher

Katie McDonald, an LFI (Learning for Independence) teacher at Westminster High School, has been named the grand prize winner in Touchdown for Teachers, a Baltimore Ravens and M&T Bank program that recognizes and honors local teachers for their leadership, dedication and commitment to education, and for outstanding service to their school, students and community.

Dan Patrylak, of Pasadena Elementary School, and Sharon Ball, of Patterson High School, were the other finalists, according to a news release from the Raven.

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McDonald will receive $4,000 in grant funds as well as a classroom visit by a Ravens’ player, accompanied by Ravens mascot Poe and cheerleaders during the 2020-21 school year. All the three finalists receive a personalized Ravens jersey and an award plaque. The runners-up will also be awarded $1,000 in grant funds.

As a special education teacher for the past six years, McDonald has taught students who are intellectually, emotional and/or medically impaired.

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McDonald is also a coach in the corollary sports program, which introduces special needs students to sports such as Bocce ball, bowling and corn toss. She also played an integral role in leading efforts to create an annual Special Needs Prom at Westminster. McDonald previously coached Westminster’s field hockey team, guiding them to a Class 3A state championship in 2014.

McDonald also serves as co-coordinator of Westminster High School’s food pantry, which benefits students, local families and community members. She has gained a strong reputation for her tireless volunteering and commitment to ending hunger in Carroll County. Most recently, McDonald has been coordinating ongoing food distribution efforts with the Maryland Food Bank and Together We Own It to ensure local families don’t go hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s important to recognize the outstanding work our teachers are doing in the community,” said Augie Chiasera, president of M&T Bank’s Greater Baltimore and Chesapeake markets, in the release. “Teachers can literally turn lives around and inspire our young people to reach their potential. The Touchdown for Teachers program is a way to celebrate the positive impact teachers have on students and the entire community.”

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