CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 21, 2018) – On Monday, executives from Circle K and Coca-Cola surprised three Charlotte Mecklenburg School teachers with news that they are finalists in Circle K’s “A Driving Force for Education” contest. On May 24, the winning teacher will drive away with a 2018 Toyota Camry.
After more than 1000 nominations, only three teachers remain – Jeff Bronstad from Ardrey Kell High School, Laura Ruble from the E-Learning Academy and Gerald Statome from East Mecklenburg High School.
A biology teacher, Bronstad receives profound respect and adoration from his students and parents. Comments include, “He has inspired me to believe I am capable of great things;” “He taught me to love science, but more importantly he taught me how to help others;” and “My daughter entered high school, a shy, timid girl who hated all things science. Mr. Bronstad changed her whole world. He taught her to love science in a way that no one else could have. She is now passionate about biology and plans to study it in college.”
As a science teacher, Ruble’s passion for her students and commitment to help all succeed is how she earned a finalist spot. Parents and students said it best about the former Carolina Panthers Top Cat: “What I witnessed was a teacher who sincerely wants my child to succeed and tells her that she CAN succeed regardless of her shortcomings. Her positive attitude, patience, compassion and empathy is sincere and is surpassed by none;” “Her school spirit inspires students to carry on and celebrate the small victories;” and “She works very hard to form lasting relationships with her students and parents. Along with her teaching duties, Ms. Ruble also heads the PTSA, BETA Club and Honor Society.”
Teaching world history, IB philosophy and AP comparative government, Statome has built a dynamic, open-minded rapport with his students. According to the nominations, “He allows us to make our own mistakes and learn from them. He makes us aware of the world around us. He helps us see both sides of the argument and why people believe in each side;” “His class is where my ideas and my opinions can be heard and considered. His class gives his students power and freedom with knowledge;” and “With fun activities, interesting documentaries, thought-provoking discussions, and inspiring speeches, he inspired me to do big things in this small world. He taught me that my voice counts.”
“To read the countless glowing comments on these three dynamic teachers inspires me,” said Misti Mason, senior marketing manager at Circle K Southeast. “As a mom, community advocate and in this role at Circle K, I am so grateful for these teachers answering the call to educate and going above-and-beyond the call of duty. On behalf of Circle K, thank you for your relentless passion and fueling the minds of tomorrow.”
On Thursday, May 24 at 8 p.m., Bronstad, Ruble and Statome will attend Circle K Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola in Romare Bearden Park in uptown Charlotte. The winning teacher will be announced on stage prior to Judah & the Lion and presented with keys to his/her 2018 Toyota Camry. The two remaining finalists will receive free Circle K gas for a year. In addition, Coca-Cola Consolidated is donating $500 gift cards to the twenty teachers who were chosen as finalists.
Image 1: Laura Ruble, pictured third from the left, from the E-Learning Academy poses with her students after she learns of her finalist position in the Circle K’s “A Driving Force for Education” contest. (Photo credit: The 600 Festival Association)
Image 2: Students and representatives from Circle K and Coca-Cola surprised Gerald Statome from East Mecklenburg High School today with news of his top-three selection in Circle K’s “A Driving Force for Education” contest. (Statome is pictured here with students in the center of the back row. Photo credit: The 600 Festival Association)
Image 3: Jeff Bronstad from Ardrey Kell High School was all smiles after learning that he is a finalist in Circle K’s “A Driving Force for Education” contest. (Bronstad is in the center of the front row. Photo credit: The 600 Festival Association)