CHESAPEAKE, Va. – When you mention the name of Grassfield High educator Kimberly Hammers, the compliments start pouring in.
“Just her caring and dedication to the students, and she’s really a champion for our kids,” that’s how Grassfield High Assistant Principal Kellie Collins describes Hammers. This is her 18th year, 15 of those—as a government civics teacher.
With the News 3 cameras rolling, we were on our way through the halls of Grassfield High to her AP US Government and Politics class to celebrate her being a finalist for the Bill of Rights Institute’s National Civics Teacher of the Year Award.
She said it was quite the surprise when she learned that, “Oh goodness, it’s exciting—I like working with these kiddos.”
So how does she make civics and government interesting to high school seniors?
“Just try to make realistic connections. I try to do a lot of tangible activities with my kids and we just talk—I tell them all the time I want it to be discussion-oriented,” Hammers said.
Griffen Kinsey, a Grassfield senior, says that’s one of the reasons he enjoys her class.
“She is very able to connect it to real-world events. We were just talking about the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms, and how we continue to debate on that every day, with assault rifles, handguns and stuff like that. So making that connection really helps teach us what we’re growing up and walking into when we graduate,” Kinsey said.
Fellow student 17-year-old Tony Rouson agrees, “She’ll listen to you, see what you have to say, actually have a conversation with the student and that’s what makes it engaging on a different level.”
Grassfield High Principal Brian Haughinberry joins in on the praise, “She’s been our teacher of the year in the past. She cares about kids, that’s what it’s all about, making a connection and building relationships with students; those are our most successful teachers and she does that at a very high level.”
For all those reasons News 3 presented Hammers with an Everyday Hero award along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank. She was very grateful, “Oh my goodness! Oh my gosh!”