A second grade teacher at St. John Nepomuk Catholic School received a big surprise on Thursday morning. Longtime educator, Shaa Hixson, attended the morning assembly with her students like every other school day, but when her named was called to come to the front, she knew something was different.
A school administrator announced Hixson had been nominated by her peers and coworkers for a special award. Out of 700 nominees, Hixson was one of 12 teachers to receive a “Teacher Apizziation Certificate” along with free pizza for a year from Oklahoma’s own Hideaway Pizza.
Tears streamed down Hixson’s face as the realization of her recognition began to sink in.
“I’m speechless, overwhelmed, and I feel completely blessed,” Hixson said. “I had no clue, or I would’ve nominated my friends.”
Jenny Grigsby, Hideaway Marketing Coordinator, presented the award to Hixson on behalf of Hideaway Pizza. Grigsby said they received at least 10 different nominations for Hixson, but one stood out. Denise Heard, a faculty member at St. John’s, sent in a nomination letter and a picture of Hixson in a yellow rain coat preparing to take her students out for a walk.
Heard read the nomination aloud during the assembly.
“What second grade student wouldn’t want to go for a walk in the rain with this beloved teacher?” Heard said. “Because this is just the kind of silly, fabulous, imaginative, creative teacher that Mrs. Shaa Hixson is.”
Heard noted that many students who passed through Hixson’s class, now consider Hixson their favorite teacher. After the assembly, Hixson said she felt a calling to serve children even while she was a young girl.
“I started babysitting at the age of ten, I surrounded myself with children from the very beginning,” she said. “It carried through high school as I babysat and worked at day care centers. I knew I needed to surround myself with young lives that I could touch.”
Hixson has 23 years of experience teaching elementary school in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. She has taught at St. John Nepomuk Catholic School for more than ten of those years. She graduated from Moore High School in 1990 and from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1994.
This is the second year for Hideaway Pizza to recognize educators with “Teacher Apizziation Awards.”
“Hideaway celebrates groups and individuals who use creativity to elevate education and culture, and teachers are on the front lines every day in these crucial areas,” Hideaway Pizza Co-Owner Brett Murphy said. “Our teachers work selflessly and tirelessly, and deserve respect and admiration for their commitment. This is our small way of showing gratitude, and an opportunity for the public to share their stories about the amazing women and men making a difference in their communities.”