LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Toni Cook

Position: Retiring Physical Education Teacher
School: Starside Elementary School
School District: DeSoto Unified School District #232
City, State: DeSoto, KS

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Toni Cook was nominated by her colleague, Clare VanDusen.

Ms. Cook has been a teacher at Starside for 20 years. Over the years, she has dedicated her time to encouraging hundreds of students to live an active lifestyle. She makes physical education a fun experience for the students, and they always look forward to her class.

Ms. Cook not only taught physical education, but was also in charge of planning Starside’s yearly Walk-a-Thon, after school clubs, and the end of the year field day. It was very evident that building strong relationships with her students was important to her. Every Halloween, she would turn the gym into a fun obstacle course, which was always a huge highlight of the school year.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Cook was planning an over-the-top field day with a full American Ninja Warrior-style course for the kids. Instead, she has created a virtual opportunity for the kids so they can enjoy their dearly loved field day.

"Going above and beyond is just what Ms. Toni Cook does," said VanDusen. "As a colleague and former student, she has left a special mark on my life. She is one very special lady, and Starside will not be the same without her, but we are excited to see her enjoy this next season of retirement."