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WOOD RIVER, Ill. — Neely Kinkel, a teacher at East Alton-Wood River High School, is the June Weber Chevrolet Tools for Teachers recipient!

Mrs. Kinkel was nominated by Lauren Houba, who wrote the following message:

Neely has dedicated a lot of her time to her special needs high school students. She came up with an idea to start a café’ at the school where her student could practice daily life skills. The café’ is a huge hit every day with teachers and students who come in and buy coffee, tea, freshly baked cookies, popcorn, and more. Her students work the café’ behind the register, stocking material, inventory, and so much more.

The money made allows Neely to pay for adventurous field trips for her students that are not as privileged as others to be able to experience these types of activities outside of school. This money has also opened up a school clothing room where all students can shop for free for clothing, bath essentials, shoes, food, etc. I have never seen a school create such a wonderful atmosphere for special needs high schoolers who just want to live a normal life.

On top of all of this, Neely works with local businesses to hire her students for a couple hours a week in which the business does not pay them hourly, Neely does from the money earned in the café. She deserves so much recognition. I think other schools should follow suit. As her best friend, it is so incredible to watch what she does for those students.

Keely was interviewed by Mike Colombo and presented a check for $500 from Weber Chevrolet. You can watch his interview above. Tools for Teachers in partnership with Weber Chevrolet, acknowledging the amazing teachers in the St. Louis metropolitan area! To learn more, or to nominate a deserving teacher please visit our Tools for Teachers Page.