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The Carthage Press
  • ‘Two-arm salute’ to Carthage teacher

  • Mark Sponaugle has affected the lives of thousands of students in 33 years of teaching, 27 years as advisor for the Carthage SkillsUSA group and 23 years as coordinator of the SkillsUSA groups at dozens of Southwest Missouri schools.
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  • Mark Sponaugle has affected the lives of thousands of students in 33 years of teaching, 27 years as advisor for the Carthage SkillsUSA group and 23 years as coordinator of the SkillsUSA groups at dozens of Southwest Missouri schools.
    People outside the school know Sponaugle as the man who helps organize Carthage's Christmas Parade the first Monday in December of every year for the past 15-20 years.
    Those two things were keys to earning Sponaugle his latest honor, national  SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year.
    The award was presented at the 50th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference, held June 23-27 in Kansas City.
    Sponaugle said he had to interview for the award and showing a hard-back book he created with stories and photos of the Christmas Parade, other community service activities and the students he's worked with over the years, helped him over the top.
    "Our biggest community service project is the local Christmas Parade," Sponaugle said. "One of my interviewers is the editor of the national SkillsUSA magazine and he said he thought the magazine had profiled the parade in the past. It gets hundreds of kids involved in the community and thousands of people out to see it and it's ours now solely. We co-produced it for many years, but we're the only ones now."
    Sponaugle said the book showed the pride he has for Carthage and the greatness of the community and school. He said he's proud of the Advisor of the Year honor, but it's an honor to the community and to his students.
    "It's an honor for me of course, but it's an honor to all those people I've crossed paths with over the years," Sponaugle said. "It takes a village to raise a child, and I enjoy what I've done, but it's all for the students. The work I've done in the city, and in the group, it's all for them. The students I work with and the teachers I work with, they're the future of our country and I'm glad to he a small part of that future. I hope all of Carthage can share in this award."
    According to a release from SkillsUSA, Sponaugle was one of five individuals to be selected throughout the country for regional awards before being selected as SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year Award, a prestigious national award that recognizes and honors dedicated career and technical education instructors who serve as SkillsUSA advisors.
    “Mark Sponaugle’s passion and dedication has been appreciated by his peers and students throughout his career,” said Tim Lawrence, executive director of SkillsUSA. “His desire to be the best can be surpassed by none, but that desire is far from self-serving; it applies to how he trains his students for success and how he helps and mentors his fellow teachers.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The group said Sponaugle works with IEP (Individualized Education Program) students, a challenging effort that helps improve the educational experience of students with disabilities. As senior SkillsUSA advisor for the largest SkillsUSA district in the state, he also coordinates all of his district’s SkillsUSA activities, which includes the selection and training of officers to local and state competitions.
    SkillsUSA Missouri is a state association of SkillsUSA Inc. SkillsUSA Missouri consists of nine districts with over 85 local chapters with a membership of nearly 10,000.
    The group also said Sponaugle serves as chair of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies competition of the state competition.
    The SkillsUSA state directors association created the Advisor of the Year award to recognize and honor dedicated career and technical education instructors who serve as SkillsUSA advisors.

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