17 January 2019

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Sandy City—Beehive Science and Technology Academy Director Hanifi Oguz, teacher Carrol Firmage and volunteer Tammy Van Amerongen were given Appreciation Awards at a dinner given by Sandy City on Jan. 15 at the Sandy City Council meeting.

     According to Sandy City, the annual awards are “For individuals who have shown distinction in service to members in our community.”  The nine categories are:  Outstanding Citizen Contribution, Long-Term Citizen Contribution, Outstanding Service Award, Special Recognition Award, Coach of the Year, Teacher of the Year, Outstanding Volunteer of the Year, Citizen of Merit and Open Category.  Applications for the award are submitted from the general public.  The awards are selected by Sandy City Council members and Sandy administration.

     Mr. Oguz won the Special Recognition Award.  This award is given “For an individual, company or organization providing a unique service in or for Sandy.  Something truly special, outside of normal types of service.”

     In addition to transforming Sandy’s Beehive Science and Technology Academy into a financially sound, nationally honored charter school, Mr. Oguz has played a key role in educating the public about the impact STEM can play in our everyday lives. Since 2013, he has organized and overseen the Utah STEM Expo, a showcase of projects created by students from across the state. The half-day expo has historically attracted thousands of visitors each year to the Mountain America Expo Center.

     Ms. Firmage won Teacher of the Year.  This award is given “For any teacher in a public or private school in the Sandy area.  We want to honor a teacher who uplifts and encourages students of all ages to go for their dreams and encourages their love to learn.”

     Since 1990, Ms. Firmage has held teaching positions at Salt Lake Community College, ITT Technical College, Utah Valley University and Beehive Science and Technology Academy.  At Beehive, she’s served as Humanities Department chair, and has taught history, government and English classes since 2010.  As former student, Veronica Martinez, wrote, “Ms. Firmage taught us vital life lessons: how to dissect language, how to show compassion, how to question ourselves and learn about our true values.”

     Ms. Van Amerongen won Outstanding Volunteer of the Year.  This award is given “For someone who serves in Sandy without expecting any kind of payment or recognition.  They simply love giving back to the community.”

     Ms. Van Amerongen has been volunteering at her sons’ schools since 1996.  For the past three years, she has devoted much of her time, resources and talents to Beehive Science and Technology Academy.  She has worked with Summit County Library to provide Beehive with a huge number of books.  Also, with help from her contractor husband, she has upgraded the charter school’s aging facility, including remodeling bathrooms in two buildings.  The couple even donated materials with a retail value of around $10,000.

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