Bloomingdale teacher receives $25,000 sweepstakes check
An eighth-grade English teacher from Stratford Middle School in Bloomingdale, Kathleen Nikides, recently was surprised with a $25,000 check during a school assembly as the grand prize winner of California Casualty's "Wherever Your Journey Takes You ... We'll Be There" sweepstakes.
She learned about the contest in an email from the Illinois Education Association.
"I'm still flying high. I can't believe I won," Nikides said after receiving the check. "My husband and I will take some time the next few days to figure out what we will do with the money."
Teaching for 35 years, 30 years at Stratford Middle School, she said she loves advocating for students and helping them reach their full potential.
"I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, and I still love every minute of it," she said. "It was great that my students were so excited when they learned that I had won."
Nikides is co-president of the Carol Stream Education Association, which is an affiliate of the IEA, and said she's thankful California Casualty supports education associations.
"With public education under attack these days, it's more imperative than ever that we stand together with the IEA and NEA and be united in our effort to protect our profession. Thanks to member benefit partners like California Casualty, we feel valued, and that value is very appreciated right now," she said.
California Casualty, provider of the NEA Auto and Home Insurance Program, works with educators across the country to show appreciation for teachers. The Journey campaign was created to remind educators about the importance of having the right insurance for every stage of life's journey.
More than 52,000 school administrators, instructors and education support professionals across the country entered the sweepstakes.