Appreciating teachers who made and make differences with Hilton HHonors Teacher Treks Grant Competition

Like most teachers, I had lots of favorite teachers growing up who touched and inspired me. I remember Mrs. Fitzpatrick (third grade) who always had peanut butter and Ritz crackers for snack, but started getting crunchy peanut butter for Dawn and me because we always requested it. In third grade, I learned to read poetry with friends and participated in my first spelling bee. That was also the year that we learned about brain teasers and stories with holes from our math teacher, Mrs. Justice. Third grade was an adventure for me. A perfect mix of play and learning. I see Big in third grade now, coming home learning something new from his amazing teacher every day. Always full of stories, brain teasers and ideas.

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In fourth and fifth grades, I had the same teacher, Mrs. Barlow. Mrs. Barlow was probably my most creative teacher. Rather than simple book reports, we did book report activities. We set up a classroom city and economy (as I later did with my students) to learn in real life, rather than just learning by being told. We spent weeks playing the Oregon Trail Game. Mrs. Barlow was organized, loved reading with us and to us, and always had a trick up her sleeve to make learning fun. She was Princess Leia for Halloween–her hair was a headband of bagels.

In middle school, Mrs. Raiguel and Mr. Bogdan taught reading and English, study skills and, what later turned out to be, life skills for me.

And then high school… where I have such respect for the many, many teachers I bonded with. Mr. Ames who taught us to respect adults and the classroom environment, as well as those who are different. (Thanks Coach!) Mr. Redican taught me incredible skills in self-respect, public speaking and self expression. Mrs. Caum, one of the most sarcastic English teachers you’ll ever meet, who taught me to express what I really, truly want to, and not to worry about what other’s think of my writing. Mrs. Caum also taught me the value in journaling. And she responded to every. single. journal entry. Every single one. Dr. Traver who first taught me that not only was I a good writer and editor, but that I can help and teach others.

I’m sure I could go on listing teachers and their inspirations for a long, long time.

Rewarding teachers through Hilton HHonors Teacher Treks program

I think we all agree that teachers are undervalued in the world. So when a company announces that they’re supporting teachers in a new campaign, I’m all about sharing it with my readers to help get the word out, and to offer an opportunity to share more appreciation. The Hilton HHonors Teacher Treks program is rewarding 15 teachers with travel and exploration in the subject they teach–so they are better able to share their real-life learning with their students. The program, which is part of Hilton Worldwide’s Travel with Purpose™ commitment to celebrating cultures and building stronger communities, has narrowed down the many applicants to 30 from 20 different states. Each applicant mapped out their travel plans to show how they would incorporate their teachings in their travels.

Help select the winner!

While Hilton Hhonors program selected the top thirty entries, they’re now calling on a public vote. You can check out the entries and select the teacher who’s project you think should be supported by Hilton HHonors (warning: it won’t be an easy choice.) 

What the teachers and their schools will win

15 winners will receive a travel grant valued at $6000 dollars and their schools will each receive $2500 towards cultural activities and enhancements. The 15 runners up will also be awarded $2500 for their school’s cultural enhancements (how excited do you think those thirty teachers and their principals already are?!) In addition, one winner from all entries will receive a $1500 excursion for his or her classroom.

And you can win, too!

Of course, you can win, too! Everyone who votes is entered to win one of 10 $250 Hilton HHonors Gift Cards (vacation!) You can vote once a day through April 30, here

Thanks to Global Influence and the Hilton HHonors Teacher Treks program for sponsoring this post.

mom of 3 and wife living in the Philadelphia suburbs, Julie is a former elementary school teacher and a Public Relations manager. She is the owner/editor of Julieverse, a merchandiser with Chloe + Isabel ( and founder VlogMom and Splash Creative Media. A marketing strategist and freelance education and parenting writer by trade, Julie attempts to carve out time to enjoy playing with her kids, PTO, cooking and exercise.

© 2013, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.


  1. David says

    What a fascinating idea the Hilton HHonors teacher Trek Competition is! I have read all of the essays and my favorite by far is Sandra K. I love how she says that as a reading teacher she has always promoted books as powerful and accessible means for students to travel.
    She would like to travel to the Indian Ocean islands of Zanzibar, just off the coast of Tanzania, and Mauritius, east of Madagascar “… to observe firsthand how the people on both of these islands – comprised of minorities and the meeting of cultures that have been in conflict in other parts of the world – have found ways to live side-by-side…”
    I hope she is one of the winners.


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