Sapulpa educator to be OU Teacher of the Game

Freedom Elementary teacher named OU Teacher of the Game
Posted on 09/21/2021
Caren Codding named OU's Teacher of the Game(SPS) -- A self-described Sooners super-fan, Freedom Elementary special education teacher Caren Codding decks out her classroom with University of Oklahoma memorabilia. She and her husband Tom love attending OU games, and she says she's the first to give a standing ovation to the "Teacher of the Game" at every halftime.

Mrs. Codding cried tears of joy when she learned she would be the next Teacher of the Game at OU's game against West Virginia on Saturday, September 25. 

The Teacher of the Game honor is bestowed upon a nominated teacher, and sponsored by the University of Oklahoma and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma.

Mrs. Codding is not sure who nominated her, but she is certainly deserving of the honor, said Freedom Elementary principal Alison Owens. 

"She's Boomer Sooner all the way," said Owens, noting that Mrs. Codding creates a nurturing learning environment for her students.

Owens helped coordinate a suprise Zoom, during which OU and BCBSOK officials surprised Mrs. Codding with the announcement. Her husband also stopped by for the suprise.

As Teacher of the Game, she will receive a VIP tour of the stadium, free tickets, and an appearance on the jumbotron at halftime.

In addition, Mrs. Codding will receive a $1,000 check. Though she plans to spend it on classroom needs, BCBSOK president Dr. Joseph Cunningham urged her to do a little something for herself.

"You live and breathe teaching and helping young people," said Dr. Cunningham during Tuesday's Zoom surpise in Mrs. Codding's classroom at Freedom. "In fact, I've been told that teaching is not a job for you, it is a passion."  

Mrs. Codding became a teacher at Sapulpa 13 years ago, with the last three in special education for 2nd through 5th grades.

"I love my kids," said Mrs. Codding. "If you have a connection with a student, they're going to feel loved and they're going to learn."

She says being the OU Teacher of the Game will be an experience of a lifetime. 

"At both OU and Blue Cross, we are indebted to you and all the teachers out there who have made educating Oklahoma's children their mission," said Dr. Cunningham.

Mrs. Codding will be recognized in front of 85,000 people at Gaylord Family- Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, including her daughter who is in pharmacy school at OU.

"Thank you so much for loving me and supporting me, I feel very blessed," said Mrs. Codding of those who nominated her. "Teaching is my life's breath. These kids are my family."

See video of Mrs. Codding's emotional reaction to the announcement below.

Watch her story from FOX23 News.

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