A veteran teacher of 19 years at Union High School took home the 2017 Outstanding Educator award at the Union Area Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Service Awards Banquet Saturday night.
Charles Gehlauf, a business teacher, was the recipient.
The annual awards banquet was held at the city hall auditorium. Six people were recgonized for their commitment and service to the community.
Dave Sutton, a former UHS educator, award recipient and banquet emcee, presented the award to Gehlauf.
Sutton noted that Gehlauf’s nomination began with a letter written by UHS student Zeek Koch, who highlighted the teacher’s positive influence on the school and students.
“I cannot express Charlie’s talents nearly as well as these words of his student nominator: ‘Mr. Gehlauf really likes kids and interacts in a positive way with all students. He is willing to lend a helping hand to any student who needs it,’ ” Sutton said.
Koch’s letter went on to say that when Gehlauf’s expectations aren’t met, he coaches students on specific ways to improve. He also provided several other examples of how Gehlauf works to make sure his students succeed.
“In other words, Charlie doesn’t allow students to not learn,” Sutton said.
Gehlauf currently teaches marketing, advanced marketing, entrepreneurship, business management and advertising/product promotion.
UHS Principal Amy Kain said Gehlauf works hard to give his students real world experience.
“He makes their experiences as (true to life) as he can, so when students get to the real world there are no surprises,” she said. “We’re really proud of the work he’s been doing.”
Gehlauf supervises the internship program, which places seniors in a work setting at local businesses.
He also serves as the sponsor of DECA, a business organization that has 75 student members at the high school. He takes more than 50 students each year to regional, state and national competitions.
“Charlie builds great relationships with students. He commits countless hours into his DECA club to prepare the students for competitions,” said Superintendent Dr. Steve Weinhold. “Over the years many of his students have performed quite well under his direction at both state and national levels.”
The nomination form, officially completed by the Union Kiwanis Club, notes that Gehaluf’s students participate in community service projects such as career day and the business expo.
Gehlauf also is involved in plans to create a Careers Pathways program at UHS for students who want to pursue technical training after high school.
Gehlauf lives in Sullivan with his wife, Denise, and two daughters, Madison and Claire.
He thanked the organizations and the community for supporting him and his programs over the years. He also thanked other teachers and administrators in the district, as well as parents and students.
“It’s a privilege to serve and I’m glad that God has given me the opportunity to serve here in Union, and I hope He gives me many more years in the future,” Gehlauf said.