Behrends: Character Education Award


On Wednesday, October 9th, representatives from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society traveled to Beloit, Kansas, to present the 2019 Medal of Honor Excellence in Character Education Award to Stacy Behrends of Beloit Junior Senior High School.

Born in California, Behrends moved to Kansas with her family at a young age. She was raised on the family farm and learned the value of hard work. At the age of nine, she knew she wanted to become a teacher and never strayed from this career goal, graduating from Jewell High School in 1988 and Fort Hays State University in 1992. She first taught at El Dorado Middle School in El Dorado, Kansas, for three years and then married her husband and accepted a position at Beloit Junior Senior High School in Beloit, Kansas. She has served as the junior high language arts teacher at BJSHS for twenty-four years, earning Teacher of the Year for the district in 2008 and the Teacher of the Year Award at BJSHS in 2019. She earned her master’s degree in education in 2010 and also had the privilege of teaching both of her own children, who later graduated from Beloit High School.

About the Medal of Honor Character Development Program, Behrends says, “This program is especially important to me because my father and grandfather both served in the military, and I also recognize the importance of teaching character values in my classroom each day.”

Medal of Honor Recipient Charles Hagemeister and Medal of Honor Society Vice President of Education Cathy Metcalf will present the award to Stacy Behrends at a ceremony on Beloit Junior Senior High School. During the assembly, Charles Hagemeister will also speak with students and share stories from his time in Vietnam as well as lessons he has learned throughout his life.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society was chartered by the Congress in 1958 to create a brotherhood among the living Medal of Honor recipients, to protect and uphold the dignity and honor of the Medal, to promote patriotism and love of country, and to inspire our youth to become worthy dedicated citizens of our nation. Its membership consists exclusively of those individuals who have received the Medal of Honor. Today, there are 71 living recipients of the Medal of Honor. The Society is unique in that its membership hopes that there will be no need to welcome new inductees.

The Medal of Honor Character Development Program is a curriculum resource built on the values of courage, commitment, sacrifice, citizenship, integrity, and patriotism. Its living history videos and accompanying lessons teach students that ordinary people can meet great challenges and make the world around them a better place. Each lesson highlights skills such as writing, collaboration, and critical thinking. With two available curriculum options (elementary and secondary), the resources are appropriate for K-12 students and beyond. Assignments and activities fit efficiently into existing disciplines, time periods, and schedules. For more information, visit

The Medal of Honor Excellence in Character Education Award recognizes one elementary, one middle school, and one high school educator each year for excellence in teaching the Medal of Honor Character Development Program. The Excellence in Character Education Award honors teachers who inspire their students to live by the values of the Medal: courage and sacrifice, commitment and integrity, citizenship and patriotism.


For more information about the Medal of Honor Society, the Character Development Program, or the Excellence in Character Education Award, contact Noel Wall at

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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