The following is a republished press release from a community organization or member and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … to submit community announcements to The Voice, contact us at

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Ithaca, NY – The Barnes & Noble store in Ithaca announces the start of the 2016 Barnes & Noble “My Favorite Teacher Contest,” which provides middle and high school students the opportunity to tell their communities how much they appreciate their teachers.

Students can nominate their teacher by writing essays, poems or thank-you letters that share how their teacher has influenced their life and why they appreciate and admire their teacher.  Participating schools collect the essays and submit them to the Ithaca Barnes & Noble store for consideration.  Entries will be judged on the compelling nature of the teacher’s qualities, the sincerity of the student’s appreciation and the quality of expression and writing.

Teachers from grades 1 through 12 are eligible for nomination.  Awards for winning teachers, schools and students include cash prizes, NOOK by Samsung devices and more.  The contest is broken down into local and regional winners, from which the Barnes & Noble National “Teacher of the Year” will be chosen.

The local winning teacher will be recognized in the spring at an event at the Ithaca Barnes & Noble store, where they will receive a special award acknowledging their achievement and additional recognition and praise from the community.  The student who wrote the winning essay or poem will receive a certificate of recognition and also be honored at the ceremony.

Each regional winner will receive a $500 Barnes & Noble gift card and a NOOK by Samsung.  From the pool of regional winners, Barnes & Noble will name one teacher the Barnes & Noble National Teacher of the Year. The winning teacher will receive $5,000 and the title of “Barnes & Noble My Favorite Teacher of the Year.” The national winner will be recognized at a special community celebration at their local Barnes & Noble store, and the winning teacher’s school will receive $5,000. The student who writes the national winning essay, poem or thank-you letter will win a $500 Barnes & Noble gift card and a NOOK by Samsung device.

“Teachers are a vital influence in the lives of children. They deserve all the recognition we can give them,” said Sarah DiFrancesco, Vice President of Business Development for Barnes & Noble. “There’s rarely a dry eye in the audience during a My Favorite Teacher event at Barnes & Noble. Our booksellers love this program, because it makes such an impact on everyone participating. A bookstore, after all, is much like a school – both are places of learning and aspiration.”

The Barnes & Noble My Favorite Teacher Contest begins January 4, 2016, and ends March 1, 2016. Students who want to participate must submit their essay or poem to their local Barnes & Noble store by March 1. Only middle and high school students and active teachers employed in elementary, middle or high schools in the United States are eligible to win.  More details on the contest rules, and photos and the winning essay from the 2015 Contest, can be found at

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Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.