On April 15, 2015, at a Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) Board Meeting, Karen Lemon, ROP Photography Instructor at Renaissance High School, was awarded the PVUSD Educator of the Month Award. Signed by Dorma Baker, PVUSD Superintendent, RHS Principal Andrew Singleton and Jacob Young from the award’s sponsoring business, Jacob Young Financial, the award stated “You are recognized by your Colleagues for having gone the extra mile to improve and enrich the educational experience of your students.”
Nominations for the award come from the awardee’s colleagues, who in Karen’s case have witnessed her continuous selfless acts with her students. Projects like the larger-than-life, immense photographs of her students representing themes reflecting their dreams and hopes for a better community, and a desire to be so much more in their lives. Student work from Karen’s classroom has graced the walls of restaurants, businesses, and art museums countywide.
Karen has enriched the life experience of students through the lens of photography, teaching them the art and science of the craft with love and respect. Karen has taught them to witness with their voice through a visual medium, making her students feel good about themselves. It says to them, “I matter.” She is also a disciplined teacher who insists that her students behave in a matter that teaches self-awareness and respect for themselves and others. They have grown and matured because of it, which is not an easy task with at-risk youth.
According to Karen, “I feel so fortunate to be able to do this work for the community. The joy of being able to share my two passions, photography and kids, is phenomenal! I have always wanted to do something that I feel is worthwhile—something that will give back to my community and this is definitely an arena to give this gift.”