In Memory of Donna V. Combra

ImageOnce again here at Hodges we have had the privilege of making a special plaque that has a very extraordinary story behind it. This time, however, the plaque is being dedicated to a woman’s life that was sadly taken too soon.

Donna V. Combra was married to Russ Combra and had two sons, Andrew and Brian. She was an elementary school teacher for 30 years of her life.  She began her teaching career at the Cluny School in Newport RI, then taught at the Hathaway School, Elmhurst School, and ended her career teaching the second grade at Melville Elementary School, all located in Portsmouth RI.

Donna was one of a kind.  She devoted her life to educating children and was a great role model to them.  But Donna also had many other passions and an incredibly active lifestyle.  She loved to read books of all kinds and write stories and poetry.  She was a fantastic cook and baker, her claim to fame being her “Hershey’s Chocolate Cake” and “Pistachio Cake”.  When the seasons changed and it was warm enough outside you could find Donna riding her bike along Middle Road in Portsmouth heading to Newport to visit her mom.  Donna also had professional knitting and sewing skills that she learned from her aunt when she was younger.  She mainly knit children’s sweaters, but could make anything. She loved the ocean and spent countless hours at McCorrie Point Beach in Portsmouth RI and Second Beach in Middletown RI where a lot of her knitting was done. She also enjoyed swimming, kayaking, walking and traveling with her family.

After speaking about all of Donna’s hobbies, we still have not mentioned her biggest passion in life, her family and friends.  Donna’s husband Russ and one of her best friends Eileen were kind enough to share all this information about Donna with us.  Eileen also shared a few words that she believed described Donna, “kind, creative, daring, funny, positive, loving, loyal, honest, genuine, generous, brave, grateful, patient, happy and optimistic. All these qualities made her an amazing teacher and a wonderful friend”.  Eileen’s words made it clear how much she cherished the time she had with Donna.

Russ spoke of how good of a mother Donna was.  Her priority was always her family and she raised both her sons to have the loving personality that she did.  Russ also shared how kind she was to the elderly, even taking time to frequently pack lunches and visit her older aunts and uncles to have lunch with them. One of the most heart warming parts of Donna’s life that Russ shared was that she used to volunteer at the Soup Kitchen in Bristol RI without telling anyone because she never looked for recognition for her good deeds.  Donna’s humbleness is just a portion of her gracious character. Russ spoke with all of his heart when he said she was “an outstanding wife, a great mom, and my best friend”. It is evident that those who knew Donna were all given a special gift that can never be replaced.

Tears came to both Russ and Eileen’s eyes as they saw the plaque for the first time and felt that it was a beautiful representation of Donna and her spirit.  Watching their reactions to seeing the plaque was nothing short of amazing.   But, watching the way Russ and Eileen lit up as they spoke about Donna was miraculous.  The love that Donna’s family and friends emanate for her is something so special and rare in this world.

The plaque is 18” x 24” in size, UV processed in full color on aluminum and also includes a photo of Donna.  It is going to be hung over the entrance of the Melville School Library, soon to be known as the Donna V. Combra Library.  To Donna’s Family and Friends, we could not be more honored to have made this plaque for a woman that was so humble about her accomplishments and influenced children for 30 years.  She truly deserves to be recognized for all that she was.

Student Recognition and Award Programs Reinforce Achievement

Today’s students are involved in a wide variety of activities in and out of the classroom. They participate in Spelling Bees, athletics, reading contests, clubs, and Science Fairs to name just a few. There are also many classroom opportunities to celebrate success and accomplishment every day.  A simple, budget friendly recognition program can provide the tools needed to encourage achievement and motivate students to perform at their highest level – while still having fun.

Good Job!
Rewarding students for positive contributions and achievements builds self-esteem and confidence. With feelings of confidence come positive behavioral choices immediately apparent to teachers, school administrators, and parents alike. Sometimes a well-timed “excellent!” or “good job!” is all that is needed.  

Opportunities for Recognition
Take every opportunity to celebrate and reward successes – the small ones and the big ones.  Think about using simple recognition awards every day when you are asking your students questions about homework, helping out other students, or participating in class.   Here are some recognition opportunities to consider:

  • Academic excellence – Celebrate specific milestone accomplishments in Reading, Writing, Science, and Math. Students who show extraordinary scholastic achievement deserve recognition along with students who are working hard to improve their grades.
  • Classroom participation – Maintaining a high level of classroom participation can often be a struggle. Simple classroom participation ribbons are a great way to get students excited about participating in class.  If they are participating they are learning!
  • Spelling Bee – The Spelling Bee is a traditional competitive event where there can be many winners.  Consider participant awards for all of those students that participated in the event.  Adding your school identification to any award makes the award important and special.
  • Citizenship – Recognize students with all around good behavior, manners, and respect for others. A most worthy award!
  • Attendance – Good attendance should be rewarded at end of year award ceremonies but also consider using attendance awards more frequently during the school year.  Try a monthly attendance award.
  • Student of the Month – Create your own Student of the Month Award to reward students exceeding your expectations.
  • Leadership – Reward the students that provide leadership for classroom projects and activities.
  • End of the year award ceremonies – All students have unique abilities and interests and it is important that their individual qualities are recognized at end of the year award ceremonies. From an award for “Being on Time All the Time” to “Always Completes their Homework” to the “Mad Scientist” award (most creative with their Science experiments), these rising stars all need a pat on the back.

What Types of Recognitions and Awards Should You Give?
There are many factors to be considered when choosing the right recognition program for your school or classroom, including: What milestones or behaviors do I want to reward?  Do I want my recognition awards customized with school logo and personalized messages? How do I get the most value on a limited budget?

The following is a list of recognition award solutions to help you make the right choice for your program.

  • Ribbons and Ribbon rolls – Kids love ribbonsRibbon rolls are one of the most cost-effective choices teachers and school administrators can make to reward students. A teacher or principal can easily store hundreds of customized ribbons on a single ribbon roll and just cut them off the roll to award students as needed. Ribbons and ribbon rolls are make great on-the-spot awards – economical and easy to use when you want to reward a student immediately in class.  Customized ribbon rolls can be printed with your school logo and your own personal achievement message.
  • Buttons and pinsButtons and pins are another economical way to appreciate students for a job well done. They are also a preferred choice for building school spirit.  Why not hand all students a button customized with the school mascot to display their pride at major athletic events, musical performances, or even to welcome them back to school. Any school sponsored activity can be acknowledged with personalized buttons, giving students who wear them a feeling of belonging and pride.
  • Medals Medals are an exceptional way to recognize a student who has achieved a great milestone or goal. They are typically given at award ceremonies where a student is called upon to take center stage before his peers and be recognized for academic or athletic excellence.
  • Dog tagsDog tags are the hottest trend! Kids love wearing customized dog tags on chains and using them as key chains.  Customized dog tags provide a unique way to recognize students and give them a sense of pride and honor when participating in school activities and athletics. They are a great choice for recognizing individual or team accomplishments.
  • Plaques and trophiesPlaques and trophies are the traditional recognition awards preferred for End of the Year Awards ceremonies. These are awards students will cherish for a lifetime and frequently are displayed on a student’s bedroom shelf or hang on their wall as a constant reminder of their achievements.

Recognition and award programs can have a major impact on academic performance and are easy to implement, especially in K through 4th grade classrooms.  All students have a need to be recognized for jobs well done. Confidence soars, grades improve, school pride escalates, and students are primed for continued success throughout their educational careers.  After all, who couldn’t use a little recognition for a job well done every now and then?

New Special- Free Engraved Logos!

 

In case you haven’t seen the ad on our main page, I just wanted to let you know about a special that Hodges Badge is running through the end of the month (November 30th).  With the purchase of $50 worth of engraved items, all logos are free (normally $5.00 each), and there is no limit to the number of pieces you can get.  All silver, walnut and rosewood plaques, photo frames, acrylic awards, and Pewtarex plates are included. 

When ordering, mention Promo Code N1010ENGRP. If you order online, the website’s shopping cart will not reflect the savings, but don’t worry- an emailed confirmation will be sent reflecting the discount.

Even if you don’t need awards right now, our engraved silver jewelry box, photo frames, and Pewtarex would make  great holiday gifts.  If you have any questions, please give Customer Service a call at 1-800-556-2440 or send an email to info@hodgesbadge.com