Jefferson Award recipient Dee Sturgeon to accept award in Washington DC
Each month Siouxland News teams up with Seaboard Triumph Foods to give a local volunteer a "Jefferson Award." This is a special way to recognize people in our community dedicated to public service. And we are excited to announce that Dee Sturgeon has been chosen to attend the Jefferson Awards ceremony in Washington D.C. this June. Sturgeon has been long-time advocate for children with special needs, not only at West Middle School but across Sioux City.
When it comes to working with kids, Sturgeon knows best.
"She's done everything for Special Olympics. She helps me with my work," said Daniel Foster, a 7th grader at West Middle School.
"And I'm just proud of her," said Nathaly Samaniega, a sophomore at North High School.
For more than 30 years, she's volunteered as a coach for the Special Olympics of Iowa, helping out kids with special needs, giving them continued support and guidance in variety of sports competitions.
"Special Olympics is close to my heart. If it wasn't for Special Olympics, these students wouldn't be able to be in sporting events like their peers. It just shows that they do have something to offer to the community," said Sturgeon.
"She gives me a lot of practice and all that stuff I need to do to help me to win the first place in the Special Olympics," said Foster.
That's not all, she's also a teacher's assistant for kids with special needs at West Middle School.
Dedicated and reliable, Sturgeon shows up to school at 6 a.m. everyday, making sure kids arrive safely on campus.
"Where ever kids need help, she's there to help them," said Linda Herfel, Sturgeon's close friend.
What's more, Sturgeon also jump started the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign on campus, a movement raising awareness to stop using the R-word.
"Ms. Dee is a great teacher. She's a special person for me and my sister," said Samaniega.
"She helps the kids out. She's an amazing teacher," said Lacy Foster, mom of Daniel Foster.
A teacher most deserving of the Jefferson Award.
"First of all, I'm very shocked. I'm very humbled. Out of all the other applicants, I did not know I was going to get this award and I will do my best to represent Sioux City Special Olympics and keep doing what we do because it works obviously," said Sturgeon.
Sturgeon will accept her Jefferson Award at the Jefferson Award ceremony on June 22nd in Washington D.C.