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Hillcrest Elementary students surprise principal with congratulations tribute


Tina Fehringer had no idea what her students had waiting for her when she walked into the gym at Hillcrest Elementary school on Friday.

Her students had thrown her a surprise assembly to congratulate her on a recent awared.

Fehringer was recently named “Principal of the Year” for Idaho. It’s only given to one principal per state each year. Fehringer will head to the national convention in the fall to represent the state.

Fehringer has been the principal at Hillcrest for 11 years. She takes care of all the staff and right now, about 500 students. Friday was all about honoring her and the work she does.

The kids sang her a song, had a video tribute to her, gave her balloons and hung signs. The signs read things like, “Congratulations” or “We love you” or “You’re the best principal ever.”

Members of the school board and members of Fehringer’s family were also present for the assembly.

Fehringer said she was suspicious something was going on but had no idea. She said she was very touched by the surprise.

“Very exceptional,” she said. “They did a nice job of congratulating me and I really didn’t know. I had little inklings. When I drove in to the parking lot, there were some cars here I didn’t recognize but they did a really nice job putting together everything. It was a nice tribute.”

Both Fehringer and the school district said the award is a big honor.

“Typically these awards go to the larger school districts and the larger cities and towns in the state of Idaho,” said Ron Bolinger, superintendent for the American Falls school district. “So to have an honor like this for our school and our community, I think it speaks well for her. She does such a tremendous job and sets a standard.”

“It’s a big honor to represent the state of Idaho, but this award really belongs to everyone,” Fehringer said.

She credited her staff, all the students and their families, and the community for the award and the succes of Hillcrest.

Fehringer will head to Washington, D.C. in August to compete for National Principal of the Year. She will be up against some of the best principals from across the country.

She said she’s just excited to be able to go and to network with other principals and get fresh ideas.

Bolinger said no matter the results in D.C., the district is still lucky to have her.

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