|The Freida J. Riley Achievement Award
for West Virginia Teacher of the Year
Awarded to a West Virginia teacher who works with a physical disability, teaches in an especially challenging educational environment, or has performed a heroic act by making an exceptional, personal or physical sacrifice on behalf of students.
The award is named after Miss Freida Joy Riley: a math, chemistry
and physics teacher during the 1950's and early 1960's at Big
Creek High School in Coalwood, West Virginia.
While battling Hodgkin's disease, she inspired her students
to overcome the limited opportunities of their era and environment
to aspire to fulfill their dreams. Miss Riley passed on at age 31.
She had a tremendous influence on her students from McDowell County, West Virginia. Among her students she had a extraordinanary influence on were Jimmy Carroll, Roy Lee Cooke, Homer H. "Sonny" Hickam, Jr., Willie Rose, Sherman Siers, and Quentin Wilson. Their rocket building adventures were depicted in the novel The Rocket Boys, written by Homer H. Hickam, Jr.; and the subsequent 1999 feature film October Sky. Their devotion to their teacher was the catalyst for creating this award honoring educators.
Official Rules for Nominees
The Freida J. Riley Achievement Award is sponsored
by The Prodigy Foundation and is for West Virginia teachers
This award recognizes a West Virginia
educator who has overcome challenging obstacles in their career
and has had a positive impact on his / her students. The award includes
a cash prize and recognition at an award luncheon.
Qualifications to Apply for Nomination
• Applicant must be a certified classroom teacher (preK-12) who
is currently teaching full-time in a West Virginia public or
private school and is a resident of West Virginia.
• Applicant must base their application on one or more of the
• Applicant has
overcome obstacles in their life to pursue a career in education;
• Applicant is
working with at risk students, students of poverty, or at a
school with limited resources.
• Applicant can be nominated by a colleague, an administrator,
a parent, or a student.
• Applicant must submit two (2) letters of support, in addition
to the nomination letter. These letters must be from a colleague,
an administrator, a parent, or a student.
The following items are required to be
considered for the award. If any items are missing, the applicant
will not be considered. Please do not submit any additional
materials that have not been requested. You must submit the
following for consideration:
• Applicant Information Form
• Nomination Letter
• Biographical or Autobiographical
• Letters of Support (2-4)
The deadline to apply is December 15, 2015.
All packets must be received or be postmarked by this date;
sorry no exceptions. No faxes will be accepted for any part
of the application. Submit the application in an 8 1⁄2
“x 11” packet. Do not fold or staple the contents.
The application packet should be mailed to:
Roy Lee Cooke, President
The Prodigy Foundation
P.O. Box 7600
Charleston, WV 25356
A committee including teachers, administrators, and business partners will review the applications.
The winner will be chosen based on the application materials
and criteria for the award. No application will be disqualified
based on age, gender, race, or religion.
If any part of the application is not included in
the packet and postmarked by the deadline, the application will
not be considered.
Details of the Nomination Process
nomination letter should be no longer than 4 pages, typed, and
The applicant can be nominated by a colleague, an administrator,
a parent, or a student. The nomination letter needs to include
the following information:
• Name of person nominating
• Title or Position
• Phone Number ( Work / Home )
• Email address
• Relationship to the teacher being nominated
• Date of nomination
• Name of teacher being nominated
The nomination letter needs to describe why you feel that this
teacher is deserving of this award. Please describe how the
applicant has met the following criteria:
Applicant has overcome obstacles
in their life to pursue a career in education; and/or applicant
is working with at risk students, students of poverty, or at
a school with limited resources.
The applicant needs to provide in narrative form biographical
or autobiographical information. It needs to be typed in a standard,
non-script font 12-14 points, double-spaced, and should not
be longer than 5 pages.
Each applicant must submit 2-4 letters of support. The letters
should not exceed more than two pages, and should be double
To download the Application Form as either a Microsoft Word document or an Adobe PDF document, click on the link below that you prefer, and save that file to your desktop.
| Microsoft Word File
|| Adobe PDF File
Freda J. Riley
Roy Lee Cooke
|September 27, 2016