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Believe hot meal wish gives mom a break

BY KAREN HOPPER USHER

CADILLAC NEWS

CADILLAC — Liz Becktel spends her days teaching the most honest subset of our society: kindergarteners.

“They’re amazing human beings, they’re inquisitive and they want to know everything,” Becktel said.

Becktel is the recipient of a Believe wish granted by Cadillac Mortgage. Becktel’s friend, Holly Pennoni, asked for a week of dinners for Becktel and her family. Since Believe wishes go in the newspaper, the Cadillac News asked Becktel how she’d talk to her classroom about the gift.

“We’ll talk about kindness. We talk a lot about noticing things that people are doing that other people might not notice,” Becktel said. “They all have their things, like ’Well, my mom wouldn’t read me a bedtime story!’ and we talk about like, ’What did your mom do for you today?’’

Becktel has four kids of her own, in addition to her job as a CAPS kindergarten teacher. She was Pennoni’s daughter’s kindergarten teacher and the pair have formed a friendship through Becktel’s children’s involvement in youth sports.

“She knows dinner is a big deal for me,” Becktel said of Pennoni. “We love to eat family meals together. It doesn’t always happen when sports are happening.”

Pennoni said she nominated Becktel because “she’s an amazing person and she cares so much about her students.”

Pennoni said she was impressed with the way CAPS teachers, not just Becktel, have been handling school during the pandemic.

“I wish we could do something special for all of them, but I just know how dedicated she is to her students and to her own family,” Pennoni said. “I nominated her because I thought she just deserved a little something for her, a little break.”

Candice Molter, branch manager and owner of Cadillac Mortgage, knows what it’s like to juggle a large family and a career. She has five kids of her own, though they’re older than Becktel’s.

“I could empathize with what she deals with on a daily basis because of this pandemic that’s going on, how difficult it must be to be a teacher and deal with that at the same time,” Molter said.

Cadillac Mortgage gave Becktel gift cards to Blue Heron and Jimmy Johns so Becktel can enjoy a week of knowing dinner is already arranged (Becktel’s husband has a long commute, making it hard for him to cook before the kid’s evening activities begin).

Becktel said it was overwhelming and humbling to be nominated.

“You know, I think as moms we talk a lot about how we’re doing an amazing job, but to get nominated for something like that, it was just very emotional,” Becktel said.

Molter offered words of encouragement to Becktel and other moms.

“Just hang in there and know that there’s a whole lot of us cheering for you,” Molter said. “And Merry Christmas.”

kusher@cadillacnews.com | 775-NEWS (6397)

Liz Becktel received a week’s worth of gift cards for dinner, so the kindergarten teacher can have a relaxing evening with her own family of four kids.

KATHERYN KIDDER | CADILLAC NEWS

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