Sunday, July 14, 2024

Kenoyer named Theo Allen Teacher of The Year

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CASHMERE – Cashmere High School seniors voted science teacher Jeff Kenoyer the 2024 Theo Allen Teacher of The Year.

CHS senior and class vice president Daniela Reyna announced the award at the senior recognition night.

"The Theo Allen Teacher Of The Year is a special teacher that our class is especially close to," Reyna said in her speech. "He has taught almost 40 years all here at Cashmere, has the funniest dry sense of humor you can ever imagine, and has coached most of us at one point or another."

"We know he cares for all of us deeply but keeps that professional distance that allows for that air of respect and professionalism that we all have become very comfortable with," Reyna said.

"Throughout his career, he has head-coached two sports per year," Reyna said. "And at times, he has coached three sports in a year. He just completed a very successful track season. We would like to honor Mr. Jeff Kenoyer with the Theo Allen Teacher of the Year award."

Fellow CHS teacher Karin Blomquist said Kenoyer has been teaching for 38 years at Cashmere, one more year than her.

Kenoyer started as a middle school science teacher and then moved to the high school after the high school science teacher retired. Blomquist said that he coaches two sports every year, which is a daunting task.

Kenoyer coaches cross country in the fall and track in the spring. Sometimes, he even coaches basketball in the winter, making him a three-sport coach. 

"The kids just love him," Blomquist said. "He's got an incredibly dry sense of humor. And the kids absolutely love just his delivery, and they know that he just has a way with words, and he's just a very funny guy."

One of the reasons Blomquist thinks Kenoyer is so special to the kids is that he is one of their class advisors. So, he has been involved since their freshman year. 

They planned prom together, worked concessions together to raise money for the senior trip. He went on their senior trip with them, she said.

"I heard that he was racing him down the waterslide when they went out to the water slides in Chelan," she said.

Theo Allen was a CHS student in the early 2000s who would have graduated in 2006. But he passed away on the day after graduation in 2005 in a glider accident, Blomquist said. 

"He was a very, very special student who wanted to, I think, eventually grow up and be a teacher, but he also wanted to honor teachers," she said. "So his family, after he passed away, made an honorarium to honor one teacher a year that emulated that thing that Theo stood for."

"It was just those things that Theo did, like seek out people that need help, going above and beyond, having excitement and fun with extracurriculars, and just always, always striving to be your very best."

 "His quote that he lived by was 'to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift'," she said. 

The quote is from Steve Prefontaine, a famous American long-distance runner. 

"Theo was a runner, and so that was kind of cool that he had that saying, and I don't know if you're aware of this, but every single day at school, still almost 20 years later, we sign off our bulletin daily with 'to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift'," she said.

Blomquist said the school has been honoring teachers in Theo's name since his passing. 

Nearly 20 years after his passing, Theo Allen's legacy is still felt in Cashmere. 

"We have a banner in our community center that says 'to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift' and actually, last year's graduating class donated that sign for us so that we would not forget."


Quinn Propst: 509-731-3590 or quinn@ward.media.

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