Sisseton teacher receives SDEA's Human and Civil Rights award

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SISSETON, S.D. The South Dakota Education Association works to recognize teachers who go out of their way to help their community. A high school Spanish teacher in Sisseton received the award this year for her efforts in promoting human and civil rights.

SDEA's Taking a Stand, Making a Difference award isn't achieved overnight, but for Spanish teacher Holly Butrum, it's all in a day's work.

"It would've been really difficult for the teachers in this district and for our community without Holly," says Janelle Gregg, the technology professor and across-the-hall neighbor to Butrum.

Some of the Spanish speaking students and parents had no idea what the school's registration forms said, so Butrum decided to get involved.

"It's pretty hard for them to get enrolled in school and it's just so important for them to get into school. They need to earn English first and foremost and they need an education," explains Butrum.

Gregg nominated Butrum for the award for everything that she's done in Sisseton. "I've seen the care and compassion and the late hours that she puts in working for the kids."

Many of those around the area believe Butrum is an inspiration to those around her. "She could come to work at 8 a.m. and leave at 4 p.m., but she doesn't. She comes to work at 8 a.m. and sometimes leaves at 9 p.m.," explains Gregg.

Butrum says it's an award she never thought she'd experience. "In no way expected to receive this award, I don't think that I do anything more than anyone else in this school does."

She also teaches an English as a second language class for the Spanish-speaking parents on Sunday mornings after church.