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  • Staff photo by BOB HAMMERSTROM


    Lions Club Teacher of The Year Louise Auclair receives a hug from her granddaughter, Madison Auclair during a dinner and presentation Monday evening, May 21, 2012, at the Crowne Plaza.




  • Staff photo by BOB HAMMERSTROM


    Lions Club Teacher of The Year Louise Auclair talks with her granddaughter, Madison Auclair during a dinner and presentation Monday evening, May 21, 2012, at the Crowne Plaza.




  • Staff photo by BOB HAMMERSTROM


    Lions Club Teacher of The Year Louise Auclair gives some remarks during a dinner and presentation Monday evening, May 21, 2012, at the Crowne Plaza.




Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Nashua fifth-grade teacher Louise Auclair wins Lions Club Teacher of the Year

When Louise Auclair first started teaching in Nashua in 1975, her father gave her the nickname, “Teacher.”

He said it playfully, like any nickname, but the word and its meaning stuck with Auclair.

“It always was special when he said it,” Auclair said. “But it made that word even more special when I got this award.”

Auclair, now a fifth-grade teacher at Main Dunstable Elementary School, was named the Lions Club 2012 Teacher of the Year for Nashua on Monday night during a small ceremony at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Nashua.

She first taught in private schools but has spent the past 25 years in the Nashua School District. She started as a Title 1 teacher at Mount Pleasant Elementary, but she has taught several grade levels at Main Dunstable over the past 24 years.

Auclair said she still feels dedicated to teaching every day, even after many years in the profession.

“I love it so much,” she said. “As you can see by my gray hair, I’ve taught a lot of students and talked with a lot of parents. All of these people have touched my life, and so many stayed friends for so long.”

Her family was on hand to accept the award, including her husband, Bob, as well as her three children and two grandchildren.

“They’ve been so supportive through my whole career,” she said.

Kelly Paradis, a first-year principal at Main Dunstable, said it was easy to see Auclair’s impact on kids right from the start.

“I’ve only had the pleasure of knowing her for one year, but it doesn’t take long to know in Louise you have a real skilled teacher,” Paradis said. “What sets her apart is that she belongs to a group of teachers that know how to relate to students. She can take the cement walls of her classroom and warm them.”

Ed Lecius, coordinator of the Lions Club award, said he’s been a personal friend of Auclair’s for many years and rattled off a list of attributes that fit her personality: innovative, kind, open, personable, unassuming, even “juggler.” He said it was a happy moment when he visited Main Dunstable earlier this month and gave her the good news.

There were eight nominations submitted. The award comes with a clock and a $100 check, which the recipients can use as they please.

The Lions Club has been handing out the award since 2003, when it was given to its first recipient, Nashua High School South art teacher Robin Peringer.

The past two years, the club honored private school teachers with the award, Bishop Guertin math teacher Paula Fordin in 2010 and St. Christopher School librarian Pat Riley in 2011. The other eight recipients since 2003, including Auclair, have been public school teachers.

Auclair, who grew up in Nashua, said winning the award felt “very special,” although she wished her father, Roger Deschenes, could have been alive to see it. He died two years ago this July.

Auclair said her father “didn’t believe in education for women” when she was younger, but he still paid for her to attend Rivier College and earn a degree in teaching.

“He paid for me to go to college; I wouldn’t be here without him,” she said. “It makes this (award) very meaningful to me.”

Cameron Kittle can be reached at 594-6523 or ckittle@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Kittle on Twitter (@Telegraph_CamK).