Ken Thomas Receives the Liberty Award

Zach Zelinski

After dedicating his time and energy teaching the students of BVNW, government teacher Ken Thomas received the Liberty Award for his contributions to the promotion of civic education.

“It is an amazing feeling to receive this award, and know that I am respected by my peer group here at BVNW but also knowing that I’m respected by the Johnson County community,” Thomas said.

The Liberty Award was created by the Bar Association when former president Dwight D. Eisenhower was in office. The award is given out to citizens that have supported the teaching of the law in the community, Thomas said. This is a coveted award to receive since it is not given out every year, because there is not always someone that the Bar Association deems fit for the award. Also, anyone who works for the federal government can not receive the award because it is a civic award, Thomas said.

“Anytime that you are awarded with such a prestigious award, it really validates what you are doing,” Thomas said.

In order for the award to be a surprise Thomas’ family and coworkers could not tell Thomas about his achievement, which was a very difficult task, Thomas said.

“My family did such a good job at keeping it a secret from me,” Thomas said. “But when I started to receive congratulatory emails from attorneys in the area, the secret was out.”

Principal Amy Murphy also helped keep the secret from Thomas because she also knew Thomas was being nominated for the Liberty Award.

“We planned to keep the secret from Thomas until May 1 (Law Day), and we would have his family be there,” said Murphy. “But someone had to blab to him.”

Thomas will be receiving the Liberty award from a representative from the Bar Association on May 1, which is Law Day.

“I feel like this is a way to recognize all the hard work and time and energy that [Thomas] has put into the Social Studies Program,” Murphy said. “I am so proud of [Thomas].”