Hideaway Pizza released the names of the restaurant's 2018 Teacher Appizziation Award honorees Monday.
Conway High School's Crystal Certain was among the list of 13 teachers and one of only two from Arkansas selected — 798 total online nominations were submitted for teachers in pre-kindergarten to 12th grade at both public and private schools.
According to the release, Hideaway Pizza started the awards in 2016 to recognize educators in the communities it serves and in response to education budget concerns in Oklahoma.
Recipients will receive a $600 gift card to use how they chose.
"Honestly I'm touched that someone thought to nominate me," Certain said. "I try every day to do the best I can for all of my kids."
She said teaching is more than an occupation; educators are entrusted with the "most precious resource" the country has.
"I am privileged to work with our kids and the amazing faculty at Conway High School," Certain said.
This year, the high school teacher started the Certain Little Free Class Pantry — a closet full of food for those without — and she said it has allowed her to meet and help some wonderful kids and she was grateful for every minute.
"I can especially appreciate that this award will be something that I can share with my own family, my three sons are going to be beyond excited," Certain said.
2018 Teacher Appizziation honorees include: Cathy Archer from Highland West Jr. High, Moore, Oklahoma; Lisa Bischoff from Alcott Middle School, Norman, Oklahoma; Crystal Certain from Conway High School, Conway, Arkansas; Haley Curfman from Blackwell Elementary, Blackwell, Oklahoma; Rachel Ericksen from Penn Elementary School, Tulsa, Oklahoma; Brice Evans from Little Rock Central High School, Little Rock, Arkansas; Nancy Krug from Mustang Middle School, Mustang, Oklahoma; Eric Lyons from Deer Creek High School, Edmond, Oklahoma; Rod Mackey from Collinsville Middle School, Collinsville, Oklahoma; Gina Muscari from Crutcho Elementary, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Jennifer Newman from Lake Park Elementary, Bethany, Oklahoma; Kaitlin Peterson from Paths to Independence, Bartlesville, Oklahoma; and Jason Schrepel from Union 8th Grade Center, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
“Reading through the nominations this year was incredibly inspiring, and occasionally also heartbreaking,” Hideaway Pizza Director of Guest Relations Janie Harris said. “So many teachers are going above and beyond the call of duty every day, using creativity to stretch limited resources, and showing so much love and dedication in support of our kids’ development inside and outside of the classroom. We wish we could reward every single one of them for the sacrifices they make.”
Hideaway Pizza is a privately-owned pizza company headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma with 18 restaurant locations and more than 1,000 employees in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Learn more at hideawaypizza.com.