Georgia Morse Middle School counselor Kim Rogers was honored Wednesday as the 2012 BankWest Investor in Education.

BankWest Chairman, President and CEO Charles Burke III, while paying tribute to the way Rogers has touched the lives of many students in Pierre, admitted he had inside information this year on Rogers’ worth as an educator: His own daughter, Becky Burke, had Rogers as a fifth-grade teacher at St. Joseph Elementary.

Education is an important part of an adolescent’s life and, as Burke’s dad put it, she survived her younger years and is thriving today thanks to great teachers and mentors such as Rogers.

This is the 18th year that BankWest has presented the award during American Education Week. This year’s theme was, “Changing the World One Child at a Time.”

The award was presented to Rogers during a staff meeting by Charles Burke III, who said that the community appreciates her commitment to working with each child on an individual level.

Along with the award and certificate, Rogers received a $1,000 professional development grant from BankWest Inc.

Rogers has been educating for 25 years and has spent the past 12 years as a school counselor, encouraging students to strive for success in all aspects of their lives.  She leads several school groups including Students Against Drugs, Teens Against Tobacco Use and Youth to Youth. According to her students, she’s a positive role model and inspires them to live each day to its fullest.

“Rogers truly makes a difference in the lives of our young people,” Burke said. “Middle School is an especially challenging time for many students and Rogers provides a sympathetic ear and helps them overcome social, emotional and academic challenges. She relates to the kids and they relate to her.”

Investor in Education Award recipients are chosen from nomination essays submitted by students, peers and community members. A middle school student nominated Rogers, saying that she promotes healthy choices and leads by example.

“Mrs. Rogers is very easy to talk to and she doesn’t judge anyone,” the essay read. “I would consider her not only a counselor but a friend as well. I will try to follow her footsteps.”

Georgia Morse Middle School Principal Troy Wiebe said that the excitement and positive energy Rogers shares is contagious. He added that “it’s very apparent that she enjoys working with her students.”

After receiving the award, Rogers tearfully thanked the Burke family and the community for the recognition.

“I feel fortunate to work here, and I say to my husband every day that it’s good to come to work here,” Rogers said. “We are professionals, and my office staff is terrific. It’s just been a very good community for us to live in.”

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