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Ad Astra Radio’s December Heartland Credit Union Classroom Hero Recipient Melissa Newcome


By Brenna Eller


HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Ad Astra Radio is proud to announce the most recent recipient of the Classroom Hero Award presented by Heartland Credit Union.

Melissa Newcome is in her sixth year as Union Valley Elementary School Librarian.

“I was here in 2004 and taught for three years,” Newcome said. “I stayed home with my girls for eleven years and then I came back.”

Each month, Ad Astra Radio honors a different educator, selected from community nominations, to receive the Classroom Hero Award, along with a “hero” gift basket, courtesy of community partners Heartland Credit Union, Midway Motors of Hutchinson, Stutzman’s Greenhouse, Hutch Putt and The Foto Cowboy.

Mrs. Newcome teaches kindergarten through fifth grade at Union Valley.

She loves it when the kids say sweet things to her, like when they say they love coming to the library or when they tell her they found a book they love. 

“I have twenty kids signed up for Reading Club starting in January, and it’s just so touching that there are twenty kids that want to stay after school and read with me,” Newcome said.

Mrs. Newcome is known to be very creative in the classroom. A nominator shared that she makes the library a warm, cozy and inviting space for all the kids to come to each and every day.

“Mrs. Newcome is absolutely amazing,” said one of her former coworkers. “She goes above and beyond what normal librarians do and always has extra special activities planned for the holidays.” 

For example, Mrs. Newcome has recorded 12 teachers reading Christmas books aloud and linked them to QR codes and sent home a sheet for the kids to watch and the parents to initial. Once the parents have signed off, the kids get a small prize. She called it, “The 12 Read Aloud of Christmas.”

“All of these little activities just help make reading fun for the students at Union Valley,” the nominator said. 

Mrs. Newcome does other fun activities for the students as well, such as book tastings, where she transforms the library into a restaurant and the students get to come downstairs and sample different books. 

To teachers who may be experiencing burnout, Mrs. Newcome wanted to give some encouragement.

“Anyone going into the teaching field, I think, naturally has compassion for the students,” Newcome said. “You wouldn’t have gone into education without wanting to make an impact on the kids or wanting to make a difference for them in the future.”

The Classroom Hero Award seeks to highlight the hard work and dedication of those on the front lines of our local schools. Nominations can be submitted at

Ad Astra Radio has been locally owned and operated since 1986 and is proud to be your hometown radio station.

Mrs. Newcome accepts gifts as this month’s recipient of the Classroom Hero. Pictured left to right: Melissa Newcome, Union Valley Principal Kenda Ropp, Ad Astra Radio’s Brenna Eller, Aaron Napier and Jessica Shank, and Brian Goodheart of Midway Motors. (Photo by The Foto Cowboy)