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Award established in honor of Miles Jenness

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Award established in honor of Miles Jenness

Miles Jenness. Photo provided to Decautrish

Decatur, GA — Miles Jenness’ life was cut short in 2018 following a car crash.

He was 5-years-old. He would’ve been eight years old today, March 1. In honor of his birthday, the Decatur Education Foundation is announcing its inaugural “Miles Above Award” in honor of early elementary school teachers.

The inaugural award will be presented to his Kindergarten teacher, Laura Pitts.

Here’s the full announcement from the Decatur Education Foundation:

Today is the day that Miles Jon Jenness would be celebrating his 8th birthday, but Miles’ life was tragically cut short in 2018 when he was killed in a fatal car accident.  Miles’ parents, Sam and Leah Jenness have established the Miles Above Award in loving memory of Miles and inspired by his kindergarten teacher Laura Pitts, who acted with extraordinary kindness and bravery in the face of tragedy.

The annual award will be given to a classroom teacher, paraprofessional, or support staff working in PreK-3rd grade who has gone “miles above” to show extraordinary compassion in caring for young children in challenging circumstances, in or out of the classroom. The award will include a plaque and a cash award of $500 and listing on a permanent plaque. Nominations for the award will be accepted from City Schools of Decatur employees, parents and community members, and gifts made in memory of Miles’ will fund the award.

The inaugural 2021 award will be presented to Winnona Park kindergarten teacher Laura Pitts.

Miles’ mother Leah shared, “Miles was so excited to be entering kindergarten and joining his neighborhood friends at Winnona Park. Ms. Pitts made his time in class truly magical, which is award-worthy enough. But when Miles was killed two months later, Ms. Pitts showed up above and beyond—for us, her students, and her community—in the immediate aftermath and in the days, weeks, months, and now years after. Her compassion and bravery in and outside of the classroom highlight the unique role teachers have in caring for our young students.

Miles is missing from every second of our lives. He should be turning 8 today. We are so grateful to Gail Rothman and the Decatur Education Foundation for helping us honor Miles, Laura, and the PreK–3rd grade faculty today. And we are forever thankful to everyone who made donations in Miles’s memory for helping us remember him. Miles, we love you.”

In future years, nominations for the award will be accepted from CSD employees, parents and community members, and funds raised in Miles’ memory will be used. If you would like to make a donation towards this award in Miles’ memory, please visit www.decatureducationfoundation.org/donate and indicate Miles Above in the comments.

Laura Pitts. Photo by Beate Sass. 

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