BATH TOWNSHIP, Ohio - A fifth grade teacher in the Revere Local School District, who is also a breast cancer survivor, will receive the Ohio D.A.R.E. Association Educator of the Year award.
Sandy Kahoe, who teaches math and science at Bath Elementary School, was surprised with the news during a D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony last month at the school. She beat out more than 100 other Ohio teachers and is now eligible for the national award.
"It means a lot to me. It's always nice to be recognized," Kahoe said.
Kahoe, 45, was nominated by Richfield Officer Michael Simmons, who is a D.A.R.E. instructor in the district.
He said Kahoe is a great leader, a role model for the kids and passionate about the D.A.R.E. program, which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education.
Simmons said the teacher fought to keep the program when it appeared to be in jeopardy.
"When Revere was talking about possibly getting rid of it, she said, 'No way.' She offered to teach it. She talked to superintendents, got people going," Simmons said.
In January, Kahoe faced a very personal battle when doctors diagnosed her with Stage 2a breast cancer.
She had a mastectomy in April and returned to the classroom a few weeks later. She remains cancer-free and sees a powerful connection between D.A.R.E and beating breast cancer.
"Knowledge is power with the yearly diagnosis of the breast cancer, being aware of it, and then also with the kids and having information about what drugs can do. If they're offered a drug or a cigarette, they can know the harmful effects," Kahoe said.
Simmons said he was impressed that Kahoe came back to the classroom so quickly because she wanted to help her students with state testing.
"I knew she was in pain. I knew she was struggling and that just shows what kind of person she is. She puts students in front," Simmons said.
Kahoe said she's extremely grateful for the support she received from her family, the school and the community during her cancer fight.
She will formally accept her state award in August and plans to express her gratitude.
"It's emotional. The support that I got from my co-workers, from the community, the families, the notes. That was empowering."