Jamaica educator receives award from McDonald’s for commitment to students

McDonald’s honors Kadianne Gordon (left) with an award and a free breakfast “Thank You Meal” for her students at P.S./I.S. 116Q in Jamaica. (Photo courtesy of New York Edge)

New York Edge, the city’s largest provider of after-school programs, surprised a teacher in Jamaica with a “Thank You Meal” from McDonald’s on Oct. 16. 

Kadianne Gordon, a dance teacher at P.S./I.S. 116Q, was presented with an award by Evelyn Garcia, supervisor of the McDonald’s restaurant at 181-25 Hillside Ave. Garcia thanked Gordon on behalf of McDonald’s and delivered free breakfast meals for the class.

Photo courtesy of New York Edge

“It was a really nice surprise. All of the staff members knew except me,” said Gordon, who was led by her students to the school auditorium filled with balloons. 

Photo courtesy of New York Edge

Gordon began her journey with New York Edge as a student at P.S./I.S. 116Q in 2008, and began her passion for dancing in kindergarten. After moving from Brooklyn to Queens, Gordon continued her dancing career, which she was able to do through the New York Edge after-school programs.

Heavily influenced by her previous dance teachers, Gordon became part of her old environment by becoming an educator at her former school and pursuing a career as a dance teacher. 

This is Gordon’s third year teaching dance at New York Edge. She has also spent four years as a volunteer teaching dance in high school.

Gordon, who has taught dance for seven years, teaches a class of 20 students who learn ballet, jazz, hip-hop and African dance. 

She makes sure that her students are exposed to different kinds of music and moves, so that they can have a little knowledge in different areas of dance. Through teaching dance, Gordon helps her students build self-esteem, stand up for what they believe in, and rise above peer pressure.

“I always tell them to try their best. Everyone is different. We all dance differently,” Gordon said. “They don’t have to be perfect; I just want them to try.” 

As educators inspire and shape the next generation, McDonald’s honors impactful teachers with a free breakfast “Thank You Meal” to make sure teachers get the recognition they deserve. 

McDonald’s franchisees have supported educators in the local neighborhoods they own and operate their restaurants for decades, including initiatives like McTeachers’ Night, coordinating food drops at educators’ homes after school and free meals during the pandemic. 

“As a former teacher, this ‘Thank You’ meal means the world to me, and I know it will touch my customers and my employees,” said Stefanie Cabrera Bentancourt, a McDonald’s owner/operator in Miami, Florida. “Educators are the backbone of our communities. They’ve done so much for us, and it’s an honor to join my fellow owners/operators across the country to celebrate with them.”