Carol Antila grew up playing school in Pennsylvania.
Now, she's a real-life teacher at Carson City's Seeliger Elementary School and is being honored for her service both in and outside of the classroom.
Antila was selected to receive the Continuing Excellence in Education award from the University of Nevada, Reno, as part of National Education Week.
"It's so nice to be recognized," she said. "Sometimes people don't realize how hard or how frustrating it can be to be a teacher. But I absolutely love teaching, I wouldn't do anything else."
In addition to running her second-grade classroom, Antila also coaches beginning swimmers for the local swim team, the Tiger Sharks.
In the four years she's served as coach, she has been able to watch her swimmers progress from novices to advanced.
"It's fun to see them do so well and stick with it," she said.
It's the same thing that makes teaching second-graders fun.
"This is kind of a transition grade," she explained. "In first grade, they learn basic words. In the second grade, we're able to focus more on reading for fluency. And they like coming to school and like their teacher. You get a lot of positives from them."
Antila grew up in Washington, Pa., with dreams of becoming a school teacher. But by the time she entered college, few teaching jobs were available.
So, she majored in psychology at Allegheny College and later went back for her teaching certificate. She substituted for two years, but could not find full-time work.
Then she heard about the class-size-reduction act passed in Nevada and came to Carson City 11 years ago.
She was given the award for her work as a teacher and her dedication to education within the community.
Antila served as president of the school's parent-teacher association for two years and as president of the citywide association the Silver Sage Council, for three years. She also served as a representative on the PTA board of managers.
Although she said her schedule can be demanding, the rewards outweigh the inconvenience.
"I get tired of having to be so many places at certain times but the reason I do it is because I like being with the kids," she said.
Carson City teachers honored
As part of National Education Week, the University of Nevada, Reno, honors educators who have shown outstanding work in their field.
Throughout Northern Nevada, five awards are given in the kindergarten through 12th-grade category. This year, three of the outstanding educators are from Carson City.
-- Carson High School Principal Glen Adair was named Administrator of the Year. An article about Adair ran in Wednesday's edition of the Appeal on page A1.
-- Carson Middle School counselor Carol McQuirk was named Counselor of the Year.
-- Carol Antila, a third-grade teacher at Seeliger Elementary School, was given the Excellence in Continuing Education award.