Chicago Bears Symetra’s Hero in the Classroom

By Bart

With all of the negative publicity that is surrounding our Beloved, especially this week, I thought it was a perfect time for something positive.  For those of you who may not know, despite my handicapping posts that are on the “seedier” side of football, I do work in the important field of education.  Recently, we nominated one of our teachers to be honored as a Hero in the Classroom, sponsored by Symetra Financial, Gallagher Services and the Chicago Bears.  To our excitement, Maureen Suchecki, a terrific 4th grade teacher, was selected as 1 of the 16 Chicagoland winners.

We kept her award a surprise and called for an all-school assembly this past Monday.  Along with the all-school assembly, we declared Monday Chicago Bears Spirit Day.  (Yes, it was exceptionally difficult to have a Bears Spirit Day after that horrifying loss to Denver last week).  Our assembly was thought to be linked in with our Parent Teacher Council (PTC) and a fundraising event, so no one knew the real reason we were meeting.  Bears injured right tackle, Gabe Carimi, George McCaskey, his sister, and members of the financial agencies came to the school to present the award.  Maureen’s family was also tipped off to the assembly so they could be present for the special event.

George McCaskey spoke to the children and then had Gabe give some of the gifts to Maureen.  She received 2 tickets to this week’s Seattle game, sideline VIP passes, a Bears jersey, and will have her name on the video boards on Sunday.  She is also highlighted on the Chicago Bears website ( From the financial agencies, Maureen received $1000 donated to the school in her name, a $250 gift card to utilize for her classroom, and award certificates. It was a very special day for her, the school, and all of the students in attendance who got to meet George and Gabe!

I wanted to highlight some positives amidst this mess the Bears find themselves in.  I also wanted to share that George McCaskey was an exceptionally personable and positive person while at our school.  He arrived 30 minutes before the assembly and easily communicated with our staff, making jokes with a Packer fan, and complimenting everyone on their Bears gear.  He went out of his way to connect with our students, giving them high fives and greeting them.  Gabe Carimi was very personable as well.  He signed autographs, hung out with Maureen’s homeroom after the assembly, and seemed very comfortable talking with others about his injury disappointment.

I am very happy to have this outlet to share the positives that happen around us.  Congratulations to Maureen Suchecki who is a Hero in the Classroom.  Thank you to George and Gabe for serving as positive Chicago Bears representatives and giving the fans reason to believe in integrity when surrounded by the negativity of this week’s events.