Valerie Schrag surprised with Bobs Award


Sama Abughalia

Teacher Valerie Schrag receives her $10,000 check for winning the Bobs Award, a teaching recognition funded by a group of local donors all named Bob.

By Maya Smith, Reporter

A packed gymnasium awaited history teacher Valerie Schrag as she was led down to the main gym during her fifth hour class. 

Schrag, a beloved teacher, colleague and friend received the USD 497 Special Award for Excellence in Teaching, also known as the Bobs award

The award is given to one teacher per year who shows excellence as an educator, as recognized by the Lawrence Schools Foundation. In 2021, LHS educator Susie Micka won the award for her work with IPS and Unified Sports. 

“I’m almost at a loss for words. It’s a real honor and it’s going to take a while to sink in,” Schrag said. “And you know what, that’s OK.”

The award was no luck of the draw however, as students, colleagues and friends wrote letters of recommendation in favor of Schrag winning the award. One of many students to write a letter to the school’s foundation was senior Campbell Leitch.

“She has done so much for me, as a person, as well as a student. She is truly the best at embodying Lawrence High,” Leitch said. “There’s no other teacher that has made as much influence as her.”

Not only has she taught 22 years of history, but Schrag has also had a remarkable impact on her colleagues, including history teacher Tracy Murray.

“Ms Schrag is the most inspiring person I know, we’ve become very close,” Murray said. “I can’t imagine doing this job without her.”

One of Schrag’s many students who attended the ceremony in support was senior Alyssa Alden, who says Schrag’s impact goes far beyond the classroom.

“She makes a deep impact on every student that she has, and truly makes a connection with anyone who walks through her door,” Alden said. “If something isn’t perfect she’ll help you get there, and there is nothing that she wouldn’t do for her students.”

Schrag and her nephew embrace after the ceremony.

The award came as no surprise to her mother, Judy Schrag, who helped surprise her with the rest of her family.

“I didn’t know how loved she really was, but I’m not surprised,” Judy Schrag said. “It fits her so perfectly. She’s a people person, very caring, and one of the most special people that I have ever met.” 

Receiving the award was a very emotional moment for Schrag, seeing both past and present students as well as her family attend her surprise recognition.

 “It is overwhelming to win such an award. There’s so many others who deserve it,” Schrag said. “I’ve just shown up everyday for 22 years and done my job. This place is an amazing place. It’s my home.”

Maeslyn Hamlin contributed to this report.