Posted at: 06/04/2013 6:53 PM
By: Steph Crock

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Rochester Principal Gets Surprise Award

(ABC 6 News) --- The WEN Outstanding Educator Awards program only gives out 6 awards in the state. One of them went to a principal here in Rochester. She thought she was just taking the students to a school play, but didn't know she'd be getting the honor in front of the whole audience.

It was a packed auditorium at John Adams Middle School. Students from several schools were there to see a school play, but before the show, there was an unexpected announcement.

Friedell Middle School Principal Monica Bowler was called to the stage to accept an award. "She was given a certificate, and a Crystal Apple award, and at the celebration in October, she'll receive a check for $15,000 dollars," said Nicole LaChapelle with the Southeast Service Cooperative. They teamed up with the WEN program.

"My goodness was I surprised," said Bowler, "We had a late bus for the school play so I was all about getting the rest of the kids in the building and everything, then all of these people who don't normally come to our play were here," she said. That included a number of people from her school. "I can't say enough good things about these people at Friedell," said Bowler.

Even her parents and family were there. They knew the whole time and joined her on stage for the surprise. "It feels pretty special, it's a great honor and I hope to always live up to it in whatever I do," said Bowler.

"It was definitely a very, very good day at work today to be able to deliver that award to Monica. She was just very honored and surprised and we were just honored to be a part of it," said LaChapelle.

Monica had been given the “Ethics in Education Award,” but she says her hard work comes easy because it's what she loves to do. "I love my job and the hardest thing that I do every day is leave the building because that’s where I want to be," said Bowler.

Since she wasn't expecting this. Her plans for the 15,000 dollars are yet to be determined. "I have to put it in the bank I imagine, that's where money is safe… so I don't know yet ,I just can’t even imagine what I'll do with it," said Bowler.