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updated: 9/10/2013 5:45 PM

Johnsburg teacher honored as 'Symetra Hero in the Classroom'

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  • Symetra Heroes in the Classroom honoree Rick Bailey (right) is congratulated by Chicago Bears Chairman George McCaskey (left) and fellow Johnsburg High School teacher Judy Krueger (center), who nominated Bailey for the award, which recognizes educational excellence.

      Symetra Heroes in the Classroom honoree Rick Bailey (right) is congratulated by Chicago Bears Chairman George McCaskey (left) and fellow Johnsburg High School teacher Judy Krueger (center), who nominated Bailey for the award, which recognizes educational excellence.
    Daniel Fairs

 
Diana McSweeney

Symetra, Gallagher Benefit Services and the Chicago Bears honored Johnsburg High School teacher Rick Bailey as a "Symetra Hero in the Classroom" on Sept. 3, 2013 during a surprise school assembly. Bailey is a History, Sociology and Current Events instructor at the Johnsburg, Ill., high school. Chicago Bears Chairman George McCaskey was on hand for the presentation.

"Rick Bailey has made a difference in so many students' lives. I have been teaching at Johnsburg High School for nearly 20 years, and not a year has gone by that I have not heard from dozens of students that 'Mr. Bailey is my favorite teacher!' His stamina is incredible, his outlook is positive and his ability to adjust to change is admirable," said Judy Krueger, a Johnsburg High School teaching colleague. "Though he is coming near the end of his tenure as a teacher, I can't even imagine the number of lives he will continue to positively influence."

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"Whenever you see Mr. B, he is running on full throttle, giving everything he has. While this may make many people grumpy and unapproachable, he's far from it and always greets every student he knows in the hallways with a smile, a handshake or a pat on the back, and he never fails to ask how they are," said Jessica Bertulis, a former Johnsburg High School student. "Everyone at Johnsburg knows that Mr. B gives 110 percent all day, every day, and never gives up on a single student. He believes in each and every student's personal integrity, and because he gives that kind of trust, he brings out the very best in everyone -- and receives respect that I've never seen any other teacher replicate in a classroom."

Krueger and Bertulis, as well as other students, nominated Bailey for the Symetra Heroes in the ClassroomŪ award.

Bailey 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 2013 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. Bailey will be recognized at the Sept. 15 game when the Bears take on the Minnesota Vikings.

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.

About Symetra

Symetra Financial Corporation (NYSE: SYA) is a diversified financial services company based in Bellevue, Wash. In business since 1957, Symetra provides employee benefits, annuities and life insurance through a national network of benefit consultants, financial institutions, and independent agents and advisors. For more information, visit www.symetra.com.

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