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Teacher Appreciation Stories, part 1

teacher appreciation stories

And The Winners Are…

Thank you to all the teachers who participated in our Teacher Appreciation Giveaway! We have been reading some fantastic stories. You all are wonderful human beings, and we’re so happy for those of you who shared your stories with us to help us better understand how to appreciate you and to be encouraged to show our appreciation for all those who play a special role in our lives.

As a small token of appreciation, a $25 Visa gift card will be sent to each of the randomly-selected participants.

  1. Cynthia T.
  2. Karina S.
  3. Stacy S.
  4. Jeannette W.
  5. Miriam A.
  6. Marianne M.
  7. Alicia P.
  8. Rebecca M.
  9. Michael F.
  10. Donna B.

(Make sure to check your email so we can send you your prize!)


Just A Few Of The Stories…

Crystal L. – Spanish and Bible // Grades 9-12

A couple years ago, I had a student come to me after school and start asking me questions about relationships, God, salvation, etc. These question and answer sessions, which were inundated with scripture and prayer, continued for several months until the student made a genuine decision to enter into her own personal relationship with Christ! Upon her salvation, I had my college Bible that was full of things God had done in my life, sermon notes, etc., rebound and this student’s name embossed on it. A year later, she left for college and wrote a letter of gratitude to me and let me know that that Bible was her most prized possession. She included a picture of a leather bound Bible that she purchased and let me know that she was going to keep notes in her college Bible so that she would have such a precious gift to pass on to someone that she could spiritually influence some day. This is what it’s all about! The greatest token of appreciation that I ever receive are the “thank you’s” that include my investment in my students passing on into third spiritual generations!


Scott T. – U.S. History and Texas History // Grades 6-8

First year of teaching, I taught 12th Grade Government and Economics, with a lot of history added in! A quote of Abraham Lincoln was spoken often in my class: “Fellow Citizens we cannot escape history.” I want the students to understand history is being written by every moment they live…First year, first graduation, the salutatorian is reading his prepared speech. In his presentation, he included this quote and its significance to him. The valedictorian rises to speak. He reads his prepared speech and includes a remembrance of the significance of this same quote from class…To me, no greater gift of appreciation will ever be given to me. I will always be grateful to our Father, for His loving touch in my life to me and to others through me.


Rebecca M. – World History, United States History, American Government, Economics // Grades 9-11

During my first year of teaching, my students and I greatly enjoyed learning about the relationship between the American Revolution and the French Revolution. So, when we traveled to Washington D.C. and visited Mount Vernon, we all shared a special moment together when we saw the key to Bastille on display in the foyer. Following our time at Mount Vernon, I spent the night in the emergency room with a student. Knowing I had a difficult night, my students all chipped in and bought me a keychain replica of the key to the Bastille. It touched my heart to know that they were thinking of me and wanted to say thank you. Four years later, chipped, faded and worn, I still carry around this keychain as a reminder of their thoughtfulness, love for learning and the special place this first year will always hold in my heart.


Jeannette W. – Social Studies // Grades 9-12

Several years back I taught 3rd grade. During that year one of my students was involved in a hunting accident in which he had to run and get help. His grandfather did not make it…Trevor (name changed to protect privacy) would sit by my desk and text his mom when he became fearful. He kept special cards I had made which he could hold up when he was feeling overwhelmed, that way I knew what he needed without the rest of the class even being aware. This year Trevor is in 7th grade, [and] he has been struggling a little this year so I made arrangements for him to come to my room and work with another student to help him with his schoolwork. Recently Trevor said as he was leaving my class, “Got something for you Mrs. W.” … As I unwrapped the small box and lifted the lid I saw a pale purple bracelet of beads. Trevor said in his slow southern drawl, “It’s for Alzheimer’s.” We hugged and cried and agreed we have been through a lot together over the years and God has been right there with us. Trevor knows the heartache I have endured with my father’s struggle with Alzheimer’s for 10 years, heading to a nursing home, where I visited him every morning before school, and eventually passing 8 years ago. Now my mom is in a nursing home struggling with the same disease. He couldn’t have given me a more precious gift to represent the path we have walked together. I wear the pale purple bracelet daily as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and the love of a student.


Karina S. – Bible, Spelling, Reading, Language, History, Art, and Math // Grade 6

While gift cards and lunches are amazing, heartfelt thanks goes so much farther with me. I had a parent get every student to write me a thank you note. Even better – that parent had every other parent also write a thank you note. The notes from the students were too precious for words, but the notes from the parents left me speechless. They recognized that I am also a parent to their son or daughter. They thanked me for birthday celebrations, handling tough days, and being a constant in their student’s life. I think it was so impactful for me because kids always say “You’re the best teacher” [or] “We love you.” But to hear it from parents helps to lend some validation to what you do every day.


Michelle C. – English // Grades 10-12

Many times my students are required to print and bring essays that they have written for an assignment in my class. Many times those students run into “problems” with printing issues at home. I made mention to my senior class that it would be cool if we could have a printer to use as backup for those particular situations. Many weeks after my birthday, a group of my senior students come to my room and presented me with a “collection” of monies and a letter. They wanted me to purchase a printer for my room because “they loved me.” I was so humbled by their gift and with how much they cared for me. We were able to purchase a printer, two ink cartridges, and a box of paper. Many will walk into my classroom and see a simple printer, but it will forever be a reminder of the generosity of some very giving students!!


Kristen P. – Science // Grades 5-6

At our school, we are a family. Teachers, students, parents all work together to make our kids successful (for the most part). My husband and I are both teachers here, and we have had a lot of contact with our students because of this. When we found out we were having twins, our students got together and bought us the car seats, the double stroller, and gave us a significant amount of money to buy what we needed for the new arrivals. Their words and actions were so overwhelming.


Check back in next week to read some more teachers’ stories!

JE T-Shirt Design Contest

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Design the Next JE T-Shirt.

Are you a student? Will you be traveling with Joshua Expeditions during the 2016-2017 school year? Would you like to win a $1000 scholarship towards your JE Tour?

If you answered “Yes” to all three of these questions, listen up!

As part of traveling with JE, each traveler receives the JE T-shirt. Typically, one of our staff members designs a new shirt each year, but we thought it would be way cooler if one of you designed the shirt for the upcoming year. That’s right, every JE traveler will be wearing your shirt! And to make it that much sweeter, we’re offering a $1000 scholarship towards your JE Tour should your design be chosen.

See “The Details” below for the contest rules.

We know there a bunch of creative minds and talented artists among our travelers. Let’s see what you got!


The Details


Participants in the contest must be actively enrolled students, planning on taking a JE Tour in the following school year. To demonstrate eligibility, provide the Expedition Number and Destination(s) of your tour. You may only submit one entry.

Contest Period

The contest will run until June 18, 2016 at 11:59 PM. All submissions must be in by this time


Design a T-shirt that you believe captures the essence of Joshua Expeditions. (Remember that the shirt will be given to every JE traveler next year!)

Designs can include up to 3-colors, not including the base color of the shirt (which you may suggest), and must have the name “Joshua Expeditions” on it somewhere.

Use of the following slogans are permitted: “See the World. Make a Difference”; “Inspire Purpose, Develop Leaders, Share Christ.” These are not required. You may use whatever (appropriate) language and slogans you like that you find to be representative of JE.

Should you wish to include the JE Logo, you may download that here (color) or here (black and white). If you need another file type for your design (e.g., an .eps file), you may request such.

Your design may be front only or both front and back (not back only, however). Make sure to upload your design files accordingly.

Designs should be submitted on a white or transparent background.

Your design must be submitted in one of the following formats: .png, .tif, .jpg/.jpeg, or .eps.

You may choose to upload a preview of your design on a T-shirt. Various T-shirt printing companies allow you to do this on their site by uploading your design and downloading a preview of that design on a standard T-shirt.

Other trademarked slogans or logos are not allowed.

How To Enter

Submit your contact information, eligibility proofs, design(s), explanation of your design, and any questions in the form below during the Contest Period (see above). Be sure your explanation not only describes design but also covers why you believe your design captures the essence of JE.


All designs will be considered the property of Joshua Expeditions and may be used by JE in any way deemed fit. The winner will be announced on social media and the JE website.


The winner will receive $1000 towards his or her JE Tour. This scholarship applies only for tours that travel between August 2016 and July 2017. Should the winner cancel his or her JE Tour, this scholarship will be considered void. In such a circumstance, JE retains the right to utilize the winning design.

The winner will be notified via email. As such, it is essential that participants correctly fill out their contact information.

Limitations of Liability

The boring legal stuff that we have to say:

JE is not responsible for any incorrect information or files submitted, whether the error is human or technological. JE is not responsible should participants experience computer-related issues after downloading materials for the contest or submitting their information and files. JE reserves the right to cancel the contest if unforeseen circumstances should arise and to disqualify any participant who does not follow the previously stated rules, including but not limited to submitting multiple entries and using trademarked material.


Submit Your Design

Your Name

Your Email


Expedition Number


Suggested Shirt Color

Front Design (required)

Back Design (optional)

T-shirt Preview (optional)


Explain Your Design

Any Questions?

By clicking "Submit," you are verifying that you have read and are following the contest rules, the information you have provided is correct, and that you have not used any trademarked material in your designs.


Teacher Appreciation Giveaway

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Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Think back to the teacher (or teachers if you were fortunate) who made a truly significant impact on your life – that one teacher who not only understood their material but understood you. They made the subject come alive in a very real way for you. History and English were no longer mere collections of facts and fictions but meaningful stories shaping the present. Math and science were no longer sets of numbers, variables, and theorems but elegant expressions of physical reality.

Teachers, you know that our efforts to show our appreciation for your eye-opening, life-transforming work are often less than stellar, involving nothing more than a quick trip to Yankee Candle or Bath and Body Works.

But there are those few occasions when our feeble attempts to appreciate you actually re-inspire and reinvigorate your love of teaching, making the my-dog-ate-my-homework excuses, non-stop talking in class, and repetition of directions all worth it. You are reminded that all your lesson planning and paper grading actually make a genuine difference.


teacher appreciation infographic_tall (1) Your Story Matters

For this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week, we want to give you the opportunity to share such experiences.

How has a student or parent shared their appreciation for you in a particularly memorable way? Why was that token of appreciation so impactful or meaningful to you?

Your story matters, and we would love to hear it and, with your permission, share it with others (in a future blog post and through social media) so that other teachers can be encouraged, knowing that their efforts in educating our students truly changes lives. We’re not asking necessarily for a grand tear jerker that will be picked up by Upworthy of Buzzfeed. Perhaps that one particular scented candle or that bottle of lotion, for whatever reason, meant a great deal to you.

In fact, it’s the small acts of kindness that often have the greatest impact.

It’s your story. It doesn’t need to impress anybody as long as it made an impression on you.

(Submit your story via the form below.)

teacher pic (1)

(a teacher and her students earn their Spanish certificate from the

Costa Rican Language Academy on our language immersion tour to Costa Rica)


JE Appreciates You

At Joshua Expeditions, we try our best to demonstrate our appreciation for teachers (that’s why teachers travel free on our tours). As a small token of thanks, we would like to give a $25 Visa gift card to ten teachers who share their story of appreciation and inspiration. Does that accurately reflect the work you do? No, not really. But it’s the least we could do.


So, to recap:

  1. We love teachers and want you to feel appreciated and know that your work matters.
  2. Share your story of being appreciated (by May 8).
  3. Enter to win one of ten $25 Visa gift cards (recipients will be notified via email).
  4. Check back to read the impactful stories of teachers.

~ Don’t forget: share this with your teacher friends! ~



Teachers, Your Story Matters. Share Yours Below.

***The Teacher Appreciation Giveaway is now closed.***

Amazon Echo Giveaway

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Today might be April Fools’ Day, but this is no joke. Actually, we’re giving away not just one Amazon Echo, but five!


Here’s how you can enter to win one of the newest and coolest gadgets out there:

Step 1: Submit an Expedition Form between April 1 and April 30, 2016. (The Expedition Form tells us officially that you are ready to begin the booking process. We can then assign your group an Expedition Number and get the ball rolling on making your JE Tour a reality.)

Step 2: Within two weeks of submitting the Expedition Form, each traveler will need to submit a Traveler Application along with a $100 nonrefundable deposit.

And that’s it! By mid-May when all the deposits are in, we will randomly select five Group Leaders to receive their prizes.


“But how should I go about booking a JE Tour?”

So glad you asked. Planning and booking a class trip can seem like a daunting task, but that’s exactly why we’re here to help. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you begin the process of what will ultimately prove to be an amazing educational travel experience.

  1. When would be the best time for my group to travel? (Fall break? The beginning of January before classes start back? Spring break?)
  2. What purpose will my JE Tour accomplish? (Any visit to a new location or culture is a learning experience, but you can narrow your focus to art, language, history, missions, etc. Note: It helps to have a specific purpose in mind when seeking approval from school administration.)
  3. Where do I (or rather, my students!) want to go? (Browse our current tours to discover a plethora of well-researched but customizable tours. Request a quote to contact a Travel Specialist. Don’t see a particular location? Let us know, and we can discuss putting together a custom tour for you.)
  4. What is the likely budget of my students? (Don’t try to sign up a trip traveling halfway across the world if you’re students cannot afford it. You won’t have any students sign up.)


A few more suggestions:

 Talk to one of our Travel Specialists! We call them that for a reason. They would love to talk to you about your travel goals and needs and pair you with the perfect tour.

Ask us how to run the most effective parent informational meeting.

Request some promotional flyers to excite interest among your students.


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Making a Difference in Costa Rica

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One of our Group Leaders wanted to share this incredible testimony of her recent JE Tour to Costa Rica. We are so thankful for dedicated Group Leaders who take their students to serve others, even others in a different country.

Read her brief story and take a look at her pictures below.

What a FABULOUS trip we had to Costa Rica last week!

Our team of ten went to a school in Guararí on the outskirts of the capital of San Jose. We went to help change lives there, but we came back changed too! The school at Ciudad de Fe does a fabulous job of ministering on all levels – academically, spiritually, and emotionally – to 125 children from impoverished homes. Most of these children come from fatherless families, and many have suffered abuse.

To go there with skits, songs, games, and crafts; hugs and smiles; the love of Jesus Christ; and a readiness to do anything that the school asked of us is an experience that has marked all ten of us forever! 

I think we received more love than we were even able to give! The six teenage boys on my team set a wonderful example to these young children of the blessing of growing up to be godly young men! There were tears in the eyes of our adult chaperones as we said our goodbyes.

I have always said that I wish everyone could go on a missions trip! The support, the care, and the expertise of the Joshua Expeditions staff made this trip the memory of a lifetime for us! Our JE Guide hovered over us like a “daddy hen”! (I know…that’s a silly expression, but it was true!) Our JE Coordinator and SO MANY OTHERS made flawless arrangements for our trip! A special thanks to the JE Billing Department who worked with us so kindly as we made our payments for the trip!

Thank you! Thank you, Joshua Expeditions!! And yes, thank YOU, JESUS!!!


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Go and get grab your copy now!