2 local teachers drive away winners

By Bethany Knipp

Two USD 383 teachers found themselves taking home new cars Tuesday night after being honored for their work as teachers.

Cindi Nivert, a Manhattan High School teacher, won a 2014 Nissan Versa as Kansas First News’ Teacher of the Year and Ogden Elementary School third grade teacher Ivone Damian won a 2014 Toyota Yaris from Little Apple Toyota in Manhattan.

Nivert won the car at a Capital City Nissan dealership in Topeka while Damian won hers at its Manhattan sister company.

Nivert is an Oracle teacher at the high school where she helps students earn credits virtually. She was nominated by her students in a write-in campaign to be Teacher of the Month, initiated by MHS student Doug Mann. She has been a teacher for 32 years.

“I’m still in shock,” Nivert said. “It’s still very surreal.” She said nine teachers — one nominated for Teacher of the Month for each month of the school year — picked up numbered gift bags with envelopes on top and keys inside.

Nivert picked the number 6 for her birthday on May 6, the day she won the car and also National Teacher Appreciation Day.

The teachers each turned keys in the Versa, the first five not working, but the game stopped when Nivert’s key turned the engine on.

“It is an awesome birthday,” she said.

Nivert said she’s looking forward to the 40 miles per gallon gas mileage and free oil changes for a year.

“We travel a lot, so it will be great because we have really good gas mileage,” Nivert said. 

The Manhattan dealership where Damian won her car honored 300 area teachers with a reception, door prizes and a drawing to determine the winner of the Yaris.

Damian wasn’t immediately available to comment about her grand prize, but an Ogden Elementary secretary said this was her second year teaching.

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