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Hamburg teacher scores with M&T Bank

HAMBURG — Patrick Wirth, a local teacher at Union Pleasant Elementary School, was one of the award finalists for a Buffalo Bills and M&T Bank endeavor.

Touchdown for Teachers is a nomination-based program that rewards teachers for their service to the school and community. The five Western New York finalists each received two game tickets to the Buffalo Bills versus the New York Jets game, pregame access, recognition via the video screen and an official Buffalo Bills football.

As the grand prize winner, Wirth received even more than that. “I get a $1,000 grant for the school and a visit from a Buffalo Bill, for the classroom,” Wirth said. The player is currently undetermined; Wirth said that he and the school will have some say in who comes to visit, next spring. The grant, which will go to the Union Pleasant Elementary School, will also come through, in the spring.

“It’s based on nomination and I believe it’s based upon impact on the school and the community,” Wirth said. One of Wirth’s fourth grade students nominated him for the award.

With his class, he set up the Bulldogs Pencil Shop, which sells school supplies; after purchasing more items are purchased for the store, the extra profit money goes to a project for the year. Wirth and his students developed a memorial piece for the late Amy Low, an art teacher at Union Pleasant Elementary who died in 2011. This year’s profits will go toward student pen pals in Rwanda.

“Those are some of the things that put our classroom over the top,” Wirth said.

Wirth will determine what is done with the grant funding. He said that he has “been trying to look for more things to do to spruce up the school and change the climate for the kids, to make it a more welcoming building.”

The teacher said that he hopes to direct the money to the school as a whole, not to just his classroom, but added that he has no solid ideas for the money yet. “I’m sure we’ll be hard at work thinking about what we could use the money for,” he added.

Union Pleasant Elementary School is located at 150 Pleasant Ave. in Hamburg.

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