Each year Early Learning Centers recognizes individuals and groups who work or advocate on behalf of young children in our area. There are four (4) honorees each year: Teacher of Young Children in a Childcare, Teacher of Young Children in an ISD, The Robbie McGrew Memorial Honoree and the Champion for Children Honoree.

Champion for Children Honoree

Eddy Morelock

Mr. Morelock served as a PTA member for many years and eventually became President of the Lubbock ISD PTA Council. He became concerned when Star Test scores showed reading scores wee low and he wanted to do something to make a difference.

Mr. Morelock organized and installed 31 Free Little Libraries on various Lubbock ISD campuses. Free Little Libraries are a way for students to have books even when the schools are closed. Children can get a book to read and return or they may keep the books.

Not only did Mr. Morelock organize and communicate with the principals and other people to get these libraries, he literally dug the post sites and helped install the libraries! Thank you for your commitment to the young children of Lubbock.

Robbie McGrew Memorial Honoree

Jeremy Cares

This award is given to someone in our community who works or advocates on behalf of young children. Ms. McGrew was a tremendous advocate for young children including providing foster care to more than 45 children!

Jeremy Cares conducts the Literacy Lubbock Tiny Tots Read a Lot! program at the Godeke Library. For several years, 48 weeks a year, he reads a selected book to 75 exuberant children and their parents, often totaling 150 attendees! Not only does Mr. Cares read the book each week to the children he also teaches them songs which often include the educational components for building listening skills, following directions, singing funny songs that require mirroring his talk and actions and recalling characters from the book read that day.

Mr. Cares teaches the children that reading is fun and that it is important. He greets each child, with their parents, as they are leaving and makes each child feel valued and lets them know they are special. Each child is given a copy of the book he reads to take home and to date, Mr. Cares had given over 20,000 pre-school books!

Mr. Cares thank you so much for your dedication to the young children of our community and truly making a difference in the lives of young children.

Teacher of Young Children In An ISD

Andrea McCallister

Andrea McCallister is a 1st grade teacher with Lubbock-Cooper ISD. She has always wanted to work with children. In high school she participated in an Early Childhood Program that allowed her to work with children and she knew that’s where she belonged.

One parent told us a touching story about Ms. McCallister. This parents son, Caleb, was diagnosed with a form of Tourettes in Kindergarten and it was determined that it could be stress/new environment induced. There were discussions about holding Caleb back but they ultimatly decided to go ahead and let him move into 1st grade. As the summer came to an end Caleb’s symptoms worsened, he was nervous about the new teacher/schedule and class.

Ms. McCallister was Caleb’s 1st grade teacher and his Mom said she knew the first time they me she would change his life. “She had such a calm, kind, gentle spirit. She put Caleb at ease and he was excited for his first day of first grade!” Ms. McCallister gave Caleb 100%. She came to baseball games, basket ball games, she even had a Halloween party for her class and their parents at her house. She poured into Caleb exactly what he needed to bloom. He went from below a 1st grade reading level to beyond where he needed to be for the 2nd grand and all his Tourettes symptoms disappeared.

Ms. McCallister said she just didn’t want Caleb to feel like he didn’t love school. Andrea McCallister, thank you. You are making a difference in the lives of children!

Teacher of Young Children In A Childcare

Monica Pendgraft

Monica Pendgraft is the Center Director at New Directions Early Learning Center. Ms. Pendgraft has worked at New Directions for over 24 years. While she has been the Center Director for a number of years, have no doubt, she is still a teacher of young children. New Directions is located in an LISD school and is for the Children of the LISD students who are attending school or working on their GED’s.

Ms. Pendgraft works very closely with the young children at her center as well as their parents. She knows all the children, their habits, their likes and dislikes and where they are developmentally. She also knows all of this about their parents. She works with the parents on being better parents, educating them on their child’s developmental needs. Ms. Pendgraft works very closely with her teaching staff, teaching them how to work with the young children as well as their young parents. She spends a great deal of he day in the classrooms working with the children and staff, frequently staying late to complete paperwork.

Ms. Pendgraft also works very closely with the LISD administrative staff at the high school to coordinate activities for the children and their parents to ensure that everyone who needs help is getting it. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of young children.

Previous Champion for Children Honorees

2010-Success By 6

2011-Wentz Orthodontics

2012-TTU Health Science Center: School of Nursing

2013-Lubbock Children’s Health Clinic

2014-South Plains Association for the Education of Young Children (SPAEYC)

2015-Junior League of Lubbock Food 2 Kids


2017-Family Promise

2018-Parenting Cottage

2019-Family Guidance and Outreach Center

Previous Robbie McGrew Memorial Honorees

2007-Robbie McGrew, Child Advocate

2008-Canzada Bray, Child Advocate

2009-Claire Dulaney, Child Advocate

2010-Paula Jones, Child Advocate

2011-Glenda Mathis, YWCA

2012-Johnanne Reynolds, Child Advocate

2013-Bob Craig, Child Advocate

2014-LaNelle Etheridge, Texas Tech Early Head Start

2015-Merinda Condra, The Institute for Creative Learners

2016-Rebecca Wilson, Parent’s in Crisis

2017-Cindy Bruington, Texas Tech Child Development Research Center

2018-Nancy Rasco, Child Advocate

2019-Aaron Dawson, One Heart Orphan Care

Previous Teacher of Young Children in an ISD Honorees

2007-Irma Guerra & Carol Schempp, Lubbock ISD

2008-Susan Weiland, Lubbock ISD

2009-Kathy Pearson, Lubbock ISD

2010-Louise Sullivan & Becky Geist, Lubbock ISD

2011-Lisa Simmons, Frenship ISD

2012-Shawnda King, Lubbock ISD

2013-Sharon Zumwalt, Lubbock ISD

2014-Tracie Grimshaw, Lubbock ISD

2015-Penni Pennington, Lubbock ISD

2016-Martha Jones, Lubbock ISD

2017-Tina Thompson, Lubbock ISD

2018-Dorothy Tavarez, Lubbock ISD

2019-Donna Bullington, Frenship ISD

Previous Teacher of Young Children in a Childcare Honorees

2007-Darnise Austin, Covenant Child Development

2008-Ruby Phenix, Carver Early Learning Center

2009-Bobby Hiracheta, Covenant Child Development

2010-Michelle Hunter, Talkington Early Learning Center

2011-Glen James, Texas Tech Head Start

2012-Jackie Bradshaw, New Directions Early Learning Center

2013-Ana Bosquez, Christ the Kine Early Childhood Development Center

2014-Mary Boone, Christ the King Early Childhood Development Center

2015-Mary Street, Oakwood Methodist Child Development Center

2016-Babs Gamez, Christ the King Early Childhood Development Center

2017-Yolanda Guzman, YWCA Head Start

2018-Virginia Martinez, Guadalupe Early Learning Center

2019-Gracie Sandoval, Sunnyside Learning Academy

%d bloggers like this: