The History of
Teacher Recognition Celebration
- Watch a video about the history of the Teacher Recognition Celebration
- View a gallery of images from Teacher Recognition Celebration's long history
The Santa Clara County Teacher Recognition Celebration has endured for more than 40 years as a grand tradition of honoring teaching excellence in the region.
Proudly coordinated by the Santa Clara County Office of Education, the annual event remains one of California’s oldest and largest recognitions of public school educators.
But the gala ceremony’s humble origins can be traced back four decades to when San Jose residents Frank and Pauline Lowe decided that educators deserved more acknowledgement, admiration and respect.
The Lowes were concerned that political turbulence of the 1960s had seeped into public education and drawn away a focus on learning, which was so central to their native Chinese culture. One day, Pauline suggested to her husband, “Why don’t you put teachers back on a pedestal?” The civic-minded couple set out to do just that.
On Sept. 26, 1970, 41 teachers gathered at the San Jose Civic Auditorium. The afternoon’s multicultural program included the Counsel General of China, local political leaders, and groups performing Scottish Highland, American Indian and Hawaiian dances.
A keepsake program included official commendations from elected officials, including California’s then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, who wrote: “The shaping of young lives and the building of responsible citizens by our educational system depend upon the interest and abilities of those who have dedicated themselves to the teaching profession.”
With help from the Lowe family, generous sponsors and the County Office of Education, Teacher Recognition Celebration has grown from a small gathering to a gala event that draws more than 300 people. But the mission remains the same: to honor excellence in teaching.
Teachers are selected by their school districts for their exceptional ability to achieve the following:
- communicate subject matter in an interesting, relevant, and effective manner;
- use creative methods in classroom instruction;
- continually upgrade and update their own education through classes, training, or staff development programs;
- participate in activities within the profession, keeping aware of issues and trends, encouraging professionalism, and making a contribution;
- show a sincere commitment to be a champion for students, schools, and community.
Teacher Recognition Celebration is conducted with objectives similar to what the Lowes envisioned decades ago:
- publicly recognize the efforts and contributions of educators throughout Santa Clara County;
- increase public awareness of teachers’ responsibility in helping our youth to develop their ideals and goals;
- show appreciation for their many fine educational achievements;
- acknowledge the many years of training that teachers undertake to prepare for and stay current in their profession; and
- strengthen ties between students and teachers, and to bring about a greater understanding between generations.
Date last updated: August 31, 2011