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Article updated: 12/13/2012 9:31 PM

Glenbrook teacher honored as 'Symetra Hero in the Classroom'

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Symetra, Gallagher Benefit Services and the Chicago Bears honored Glenbrook Off-Campus High School teacher Mary Rabinak as a "Symetra Hero in the Classroom" on Nov. 28, 2012 during a surprise presentation. Rabinak is a Special Education instructor at the Glenview high school.

"Mary Rabinak is the life-source of Glenbrook Off-Campus. She sees the best in every student, even when the student may not feel the same way," said Anne Blair, a Glenbrook Off-Campus teaching colleague. "Mary finds that certain 'specialness' in a student and then helps them discover it themselves. She once worked with a teenager who was reading at the sixth-grade level and helped him realize his potential. The student's self-confidence skyrocketed -- he was even reading Shakespeare!" Blair nominated Rabinak for the Symetra Heroes in the ClassroomŪ award.

"When you talk about Mary Rabinak, you're talking about a teacher who is all about the kids. Even after graduation Mary's students keep in touch with her because they want to make sure their favorite teacher knows how well they are doing -- including students who might once have been labeled unmotivated, but found their spark and uniqueness thanks to her," said Blair. "Mary is younger and has less experience than me, but I have learned so much from her. She is the most amazing teacher I have met in my 28 years of teaching."

Rabinak is one of 16 K-12 teachers in the Chicago area who will be honored for educational excellence in the Symetra Heroes in the Classroom program during the 2012 NFL season. Teachers are recognized in front of their students and peers at surprise in-school presentations, and they receive a $1,000 donation for classroom books and supplies. In addition, they receive tickets to a Bears home game and are acknowledged during an on-field presentation at Soldier Field. Rabinak was recognized at the Dec. 2 game when the Bears took on the Seattle Seahawks.

Teachers may be nominated by their principal, district staff, student or student's parent. The winners are selected based on their ability to make a real difference in students' lives; to go above and beyond in their day-to-day responsibilities; and to help students build life skills.

More information about Symetra Heroes in the Classroom is available at www.SymetraHeroes.com/Bears.

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