Sharon Cunningham has been named Trucker Buddy International’s Outstanding Teacher following her nomination by her husband, Michael Cunningham, a driver for Walmart Transportation in Sanger, Texas. Sharon is the head special education teacher of Hayes Elementary, located in Ada, Okla.
The Cunninghams created a Trucker Buddy teddy bear named Hayes after the elementary school they service. Hayes has a journal to document his travels. He began traveling with Michael, and Michael would pass him on to other truckers. The two hoped the bear would one day reach Alaska.
Hayes Elementary is home to students who are in the first and second grade for reading and language arts. The school enrollment is a little over 420 students and has around 35 other faculty members.
Each week Sharon wrote a letter (on behalf of Hayes) telling the students about where he was visiting and what he was doing. She also has a wall outside her classroom dedicated to Hayes. Each week, the letter is passed on to all of the teachers who read it to their students and hang it on their door. Sharon has a map of the United States where she moves a pin to track his location in each state so the students can exactly where Hayes is when they pass by.
Sharon has even managed to get Hayes to be an international traveler by sending him with their son,Dylan, who visited France for two weeks.