On May 13, the CBC honored the finalists with breakfast and a gift basket.

Christian Business Connections (CBC) is a business networking organization devoted to Christian values. The Brandon group meets every Monday from 8-9:15 a.m. at the Golden Corral in Brandon. Each meeting starts and ends with prayer along with a Bible devotional time.

“It is a great way to start my week,” said Barbara Kemp, secretary of CBC. “The referrals are important, but there is simply a wealth of knowledge and support that comes from being a part of a group like this.”

CBC exists to foster growth for its members, both spiritually and in their businesses, while enriching the local community. In 2016, it inaugurated the Shining Light Teacher Award to recognize teachers with exemplary performance in Christian education. Based on the verses in Titus 2:7-8, the award recognizes “Christian leadership, commitment to educational excellence and the impact that teachers make in student’s lives.”

“As a group, we want to give back to the community, which is why Christian Business Connections sponsors events like the Shining Light Award,” said Jorgie Franks Bell, president of CBC.

To be considered for the Shining Light Award, the teacher must be a Christian educator, peer-nominated and interviewed by the CBC selection committee. Once nominated, students and parents then provide testimonies to why they think a particular teacher should receive the award.

“It is really amazing to see how much this award has grown over the years,” said Kris Beaird, vice president of CBC. “We are excited to have nine teachers from six different Christian schools. The caliber of the teachers is really impressive. Being a part of the judging committee, it is so humbling to see how much hard work all these teachers put into teaching and reaching their students.”

On May 13, the CBC honored the nine finalists with a special breakfast and a gift basket. Dina Rodriguez from Nativity Catholic School was announced as the overall winner. Mrs. Rodriguez teaches Spanish for grades 1-8 and has been at Nativity for 13 years. She is involved in the Emmaus Ministry, Coro Hispano, Spanish Lector’s, School Choir, Liturgy preparation, Girl Scouts, NJHS committee and the Student Leadership Team.

The other finalists were Jennifer Boucher (Media Center Director), Linda Heath (Physical Education) and Heather O’Chalek (Music) from Bell Shoals Baptist Academy, Sr. Regina Maraizu (Core and Religion) from Cutting Edge Learning Academy, Kelly De Boef (Preschool) from Foundation Christian Academy, Therese Whitehurst (Lead Teacher) from Livingstone Academy and Galatia Nonnenkamp (Math and Science) and Jamie Stencel (ESE Teacher) from St. Stephen Catholic School.

To read the full bios of the finalists, visit www.christianbusinessconnections.com. To find out how your school can participate, please email ShiningLight@christianbusinessconnections.com.

For more information about CBC, visit its website or call 239-4681.

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Amanda Boston is the Christian Voice Editor for the Osprey Observer. She is a graduate of Bible Training for Church Leaders (BTCL), who enjoys sharing how God is working in and through the community. Amanda resides in FishHawk with her husband and two children.