Provided photo | Mary Munger
Mary Munger, an assistant professor and chairwoman of the education and child development program, will receive the mayor’s Friend of the Young Child award for her accomplishments and her recognizable passion for the young people of the community.
The recipient of the annual award is selected by the mayor of Amarillo. Current Mayor Paul Harpole chose Munger from a list of possible candidates. An award brunch will begin at 8 a.m. April 3 in the Oak Room of the College Union Building on the Washington Street Campus.
“She understands the impact on young people and how that love of education changes their whole lives,” Harpole said. “If you look at the work she does and that the school does to help young people and to help children, there’s no denying that it has a huge impact on our community.”
For years, Munger has organized the brunch and knows many of the past recipients, but this year provides a change of pace as she is the one being recognized.
“It’s very humbling to be the one that’s being honored, because I notice how many deserving people are out there,” she said. “So it’s extremely heartwarming to have the mayor and your colleagues at AC do such nice things for you. It really touches me.”
Munger has been teaching for 34 years and has taught in a variety of places, from schools in the Philippines to schools in the small town of Rocksprings. She has taught at public schools, private schools and Department of Defense Air Force schools. She worked as a consultant for early childhood programs and several grants before beginning a full-time position at AC in 1999.
“The college has really been a wonderful place for me, because I have been able to teach and impact people who are really in the classroom with young children or elementary children or even my high school students,” Munger said. “Being able to work with future teachers has been very rewarding.”
In addition to teaching other teachers, she does advising, is active in professional organizations such as the Texas Community College Teachers Association and the Child Development Educators Association and serves on the parks and recreation committee in Canyon.
She is the advocacy chairwoman for the Panhandle Association for the Education of Young Children.
“I also treasure all people, young people, children in general because in the role that I’m in, I don’t know where they’re going to be in the future, and I keep thinking how some young person that I know could be president, could be governor, could get into medicine or create something, invent something that is really new and wonderful in this world,” Munger said.
“I just want everything I do with them to be the thing that helps them in that future world that helps them have more of whatever it is they need.
“So it’s very meaningful to think about that unique person full of potential and hope that you’re doing your best when you teach.”
Ellen Robertson Green, chief of communications and marketing in AC college relations and a city council member, said they began giving out the award in the early 1990s.
“It’s given to someone who goes above and beyond to help children in our community,” Green said. “It’s very prestigious.”
Green said Munger deserves the award. “ She does a lot of early childhood intervention,” she said. “She’s a real expert in child education.”
Munger said the mayors as well as AC have been supportive of this particular career field. Harpole said the same of AC.
“We very much appreciate Amarillo College’s support and making it a special day for supporting youth activities and people who support youth,” the mayor said.