MINOT – Tears ran down Suzanne Madden’s face as she listened to the reasons why she was chosen recently among 50 other nominees across Androscoggin County for Wal-Mart’s Teacher of the Year.

Students and faculty of Minot Consolidated School gathered in the gym to honor Madden, who has taught second grade in Minot for 32 years.

“I’m just overwhelmed,” said Madden. “I don’t know what to say; I know that’s pretty hard to believe.”

Madden received a $1,000 check from the Auburn Wal-Mart to be used in her classroom. She is eligible for the state Teacher of the Year award, which will be announced in August.

Students and staff alike said that they admired and appreciated Madden’s compassion and sense of humor.

“She makes learning fun,” said Cat Haley, one of the students who nominated Madden for the annual award. “She makes people laugh, and she always has time for a hug.”

Madden received far more nominations with more personal reasons than did any other teacher in the local area, said Susan Benson, community involvement coordinator for the store.

“The award is for someone who goes above and beyond what they’re expected to do,” said Benson. “We were really impressed with what so many students and parents had to say about Mrs. Madden.”

Madden, who now teaches the children of former students, said she still enjoys the daily surprises of the classroom.

“You never know what they’re going to say,” said Madden. “I love watching them grow up and knowing how well most of them turn out. It makes you believe that there’s always hope, and that you can never give up on any child.”

Principal Don Bilodeau said that he often hears comments from parents who fondly remember Madden as their own second-grade teacher.

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