BEATRICE - The Beatrice Educational Foundation is handing out honors for several positions. 

It was a big morning at Paddock Lane Elementary School in Beatrice as the BEF named their 2023 paraeducator of the year, while also distributing a large sum of teacher grant awards. Jason Zoellner, owner of Zoellner Lincoln Ford of Beatrice, is a sponsor for the foundation and says the paraeducator award holds sentimental reasoning. 

"I had a sister who served as a paraeducator for most of her life," Zoellner said. "She was a wonderful, hard working person, who's impact was felt by many of the students she touched. We were approached to sponsor this and felt it was really something we supported."

The award was presented to Inez Trauernicht of Paddock Lane. In addition to her work as paraeducator, she drives multiple van routes to transport students to and from Paddock Lane. Additionally, Trauernicht recently completed Skills Based Training through Educational Service Unit #6 to provide specific programming for students with autism. Trauernicht credits those around her. 

"You teachers, parents are awesome, I love you all because you're always willing to help," Trauernicht told a full gym at Paddock Lane. "Without you guys, I would not be here either. You guys are amazing."

Trauernicht received a $1,000 check. The foundation also awarded $22,280 in teacher grant awards, with $13,620 going to Paddock Lane, including $6,000 to the schools first grade team.