Regis Philbin, Kelly Ripa
No big secret here: Schoolteachers never get enough credit, and they sure don't make enough dough. At least Live! With Regis and Kelly is doing something about it. On Monday the show launches its second annual Top Teacher Week, a salute to America's best educators that has the five finalists scoring very cool swag.
"It's like Queen for a Day, only guys are allowed!" says cohost Kelly Ripa. Last year's finalists took home Intel PCs for their schools, technology packages from eInstruction and $40,000 in gift certificates from Staples, Lowe's and Scholastic. The winner, English teacher Donald Dye from Iowa, also got a Ford Mustang convertible.
"This is the least we can do to honor teachers who go above and beyond in the classroom," Ripa says. "They've always done so much with so little, and it's even worse these days because of budget cuts. They're digging into their own pockets to give their students the essentials." Ripa is mom to Joaquin (8), Lola (9) and Michael (13). "When you're a kid, you don't understand the importance of a good teacher," she says. "It really hits you when you're a parent."
This week also marks the arrival of marathon runner Dean Karnazes, who started a cross-country trek February 25 at Disneyland and ends it May 10 on the Live! soundstage in Manhattan. But he won't be showing up alone. "I plan to cross the finish line with him," Ripa tells us. "Dean's been doing all the work. I'm going to slide in during the last few blocks and enjoy the glory!"
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