Burns honored for remarkable career

Former Indiana Teacher of the Year honored at Lincoln

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It’s fitting that a plaque of beloved former Lincoln teacher Myrtle Burns finds itself resting in the Lion’s library amongst the shelves of book that–just like her–filled many students with a wealth of knowledge.

Spearheaded by the Friedman family, a dedication to Burns was held in May at Lincoln Elementary School to honor the 1967 Indiana Teacher of the Year–La Porte’s first and only educator to have that distinction. This prestigious award is given to one Indiana educator a year who was nominated by his/her superiors for outstanding work in and out of the classroom.

Burns spent decades molding the minds and futures of her students with her creativity, high expectations and compassionate heart. She was known for her innovative lessons, including teaching her students how to navigate the Stock Market.

Greta Friedman, La Porte County Superior Court Judge, was one of those students whose life was touched by Burns. Friedman, joined by her husband Shaw and her mother-in-law, spoke about Burns’ impact on her to Lincoln 5th graders. Friedman was visibly emotional speaking to the group of student about her beloved teacher.

“She was one of the most unique and incredible women I have had the pleasure of knowing. She touched the lives of thousands of students. She especially encouraged girls and young women to never settle, and to push themselves to meet their goals,” Friedman said.

Friedman spoke a great deal to Burns’ character and her desire to build that in her students as well. While she was kind and compassionate, she made sure that her students, too, were modeling that behavior.

“She had a remarkable way of connecting with people of all ages. She was always able to find the good in every situation and every person. She stressed hard work, kindness, and a sense of community. We all wanted her respect,” Friedman said.

While the current Lincoln students may not have known the incredible teacher engraved on the plaque that sits in the library, they are sure to affected by the ripple of Burns’ impact. Truth be told, many people in La Porte are. Burns’ former students carry her love, knowledge, and altruism with them, spreading those lessons learned out to others.

“Mrs. Burns had the ability to touch our minds and our lives but more importantly she touched our hearts. She cheered us on, celebrated our victories and helped us work through the failures always encouraging us to try again. She never met a person she didn’t like and she taught us through her actions what a strong supportive responsible woman could accomplish in this world. We were blessed to have her as a student. She was not just our teacher for a year…. she taught us lessons for a lifetime,” Friedman said.