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Special Education Teacher Wins 'Trip of a Lifetime' Award

A Wayland Middle School teacher is the recipient of the 2013 Mary L. Johnson Travelship Award.

He didn't win the Super Bowl, but Robert Reddington is going to Disney World.

Reddington, a 21-year veteran special education teacher at Wayland Middle School, is the 2013 recipient of the Mary L. Johnson Travelship Award.

The award is given annually to a Wayland Public Schools teacher who "loves children, respects them and helps them grow beyond themselves." It is awarded in memory of Mary Johnson, a Wayland High School graduate who died in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on Dec. 21, 1988. The Johnson family established the Mary L. Johnson Travelship Award with the insurance money received after her death.

"Every time I explain this award, they are just amazed," Superintendent Paul Stein said during the award reception Feb. 7 at Wayland Town Building. "What it's really about is honoring teachers for their work in the long haul ... The kind of teacher every parent hopes their kid gets.

"I'm so proud that Wayland has this award, and it's amazing that it comes out of such tragedy."

Reddington has spent his entire teaching career, 21 years, at Wayland Middle School, and he is the first special education teacher to receive the Mary L. Johnson award in its 25-year history.

"I feel like I'm in the Hall of Fame," Reddington said, looking around at past recipients of the award who turned out to congratulate him. "It's the faces of the past and the present that still teach. It's beyond words for me and that's usually not a problem for me."

Reddington said he will use the award money to take his wife, Karen, and children, Lauren, 15, and Kevin, 12, to Disney World. The last time he took his kids to Disney World, he explained while showing off an old photo in his wallet, they were too young to ride the rides.

"I'm so happy about this because I really wouldn't be able to take a trip like this with my family without this," he said.

The Reddington family plans to take their trip this summer.

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