VFW honors local teachers

Published 8:45 am Friday, February 24, 2023

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Three Lunenburg County Public School (LCPS) teachers have been selected as Teachers of the Year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

Sponsored by Lunenburg VFW Post 9954, instructors Nathan Shortridge, Derek Burke and Mark Roncinske were chosen for the VFW District Four Awards.

“My biggest motivation for teaching is playing a small part in preparing children to have a productive and successful life, said Roncinske. “Helping students understand that they need to take charge of their education is something we try to instill in each of them. Receiving this award makes me grateful to work alongside some of the most dedicated and talented professionals I have ever worked with. We all capitalize on one another’s strengths to give our students the highest education possible.”

Roncinke began his career with LCPS in the spring of 2001 and taught at Victoria Elementary and Kenbridge Elementary Schools. In addition, he has been a special education teacher for 22 years.

Each year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars selects elementary, middle and high school teachers to participate in the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher program.

Teachers who promote civic responsibility, flag etiquette and patriotism are prime candidates for this award.

“After the awards ceremony, I shook hands with a gentleman named Mr. Baldwin,” Roncinke said. “He served in World War ll, Korea, and Vietnam. We all owe him, and veterans like him, to keep our country free and prosperous. If students can receive a solid education, we have upheld our obligation to our nation.”

Teacher Derek Burke said he loves helping young people the same way he had teachers and coaches help him when he was younger.

“I’m Proud and honored to help these young people and to serve alongside the best teachers in all of Southside Virginia,” Burke said.

Burke has taught at Central High School as a History and Physical Education teacher for the past 12 years.

The VFW also awarded middle school teacher Nathan Shortridge Teacher of the Year. Shortridge has not responded to questions from The K-V Dispatch as of press time.