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Miami Union Academy Teacher Wins Excellence Award


The Alumni Awards Foundation has bestowed one of its 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award to Elticia Buisson, social studies teacher at Miami Union Academy. The award was presented to the Oakwood University alumnus at a ceremony on April 26.

Each year, the Alumni Awards Foundation — a nonprofit that boasts top Adventist businesspeople on its board and a mission to preserve and develop Adventist K-12 schools — accepts nominations and chooses the top 10 teachers in North America that “stand out above the rest and go above and beyond the call of duty to impact their students’ lives.” Throughout May and June, Foundation board members and staff will travel around the country, presenting the awards to the 10 teachers in their local communities.

In its recent newsletter, the Alumni Awards Foundation, reported on Elticia Buisson’s award:

Elticia Buisson has always been able to bring history to life using technology—whether she is in the classroom or not.

While on a music tour in Europe with the Alabama Gospel Choir, Buisson used social media to create geography scavenger hunts for her students. She posted pictures and videos of the locations she visited and encouraged the students to use the characteristics of the cities and venues as clues to determine where she was and how far she had travelled.  The assignment allowed students to see their textbooks from another vantage point and made many of them interested in travelling to experience other cultures for themselves.

“She is constantly seeking opportunities to make education exciting and meaningful both inside and outside of the classroom and to make learning practical for our students,” said Shelley Garner, vice principal of Miami Union Academy (MUA).

During her ten years at MUA, Buisson has worked with her students to create 3D replicas of palaces, temples and tombs from ancient civilizations, set up a FaceTime video conference with an Air Force Sergeant in South Korea to inform students of the requirements necessary to become an Air Force officer, and even researched the process of Egyptian mummification in order to mummify chickens.

“They actually mummified chickens,” said Renee Hodge, principal of MUA. “That is the type of teacher she is.  Anything that can enhance the class or help advance the student, she is with it.”

Buisson’s use of technology and dedication to her students extends beyond the classroom. She offers free tutoring after school for students who can meet her in person and tutors those who cannot meet using Skype.

“She has a passion for her students and shows it by the time she puts into working with them to help them succeed,” Hodge said.

Above all, Buisson is committed to her students and calls herself the caretaker of her own mission field. Before school begins each year, Buisson prays over each desk and the student who will sit there. She prays that her relationship with them would be encouraging, patient and, most of all, loving.

“Love is why I require more than ‘average’ from my students,” Buisson said. “When they go beyond average and their success surprises themselves, our bond is strengthened. God compels me to share that love with all my students. It softens the hardest, frustrated heart.”

Buisson considers her students her family, and she has never regretted her decision to become an educator.

“On those days when fatigue seems like it wants to win, I remember the impact my teaching is having not only on their academic pursuits, but their spiritual accomplishments, as well,” Buisson said. “My reward is their success. Adventist education has made me a card carrying believer in the adage ‘do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.’”

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