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Barnes & Noble Names Tara Hefner National Winner of the 2014-2015 “My Favorite Teacher Contest” and “Teacher of the Year”

Fredericksburg, VA, Educator Receives Praise from Student, Awarded $10,000 to Share with Riverbend High School

NEW YORK -- May 4, 2015 -- Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the nation’s largest retail bookseller and the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today named Tara Hefner from Riverbend High School in Fredericksburg, VA, as the 2014-2015 national winner and “Teacher of the Year” in the Barnes & Noble My Favorite Teacher Contest. Mrs. Hefner, an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, was nominated by her student, high school senior Jeimy Alfaro, and was chosen from more than 7,000 entries at Barnes & Noble stores nationwide.
From September 2014 to March 2015, Barnes & Noble invited students to nominate their favorite teacher by writing essays, poems or thank you letters that share how their teacher has influenced their life and why they appreciate and admire their teacher. Entries were accepted at Barnes & Noble stores, and were judged on the compelling nature of the teacher’s qualities, the sincerity of the student’s appreciation and the quality of expression and writing.
“The Barnes & Noble My Favorite Teacher Contest celebrates thousands of teachers each year and recognizes their ability to inspire students,” said Sarah DiFrancesco, Vice President of Business Development for Barnes & Noble. “We’re excited to present our highest honor – The Barnes & Noble Teacher of the Year award – to ESL teacher Tara Hefner, who truly embodies these qualities as described in Jeimy Alfaro’s moving essay.”
In Jeimy’s essay, she wrote, “Dear Mrs. Hefner, …I need you to know what a difference you have made, not only in my learning, but most importantly in my life. As you know, I spent the first 16 years of my life living in the most dangerous city in the world, San Pedro Sula, Honduras. While living there, I witnessed gang murders, drug abuse, and violence just on my walks to school. I had so much anxiety and fear every day, and I literally dreamt of what it would be like to have an opportunity to live and study in America.
“When that dream finally became a reality, I was faced with different struggles. I started school only knowing the words “no English,” and that became my response to everyone that spoke to me. I thought about giving up, quitting school, and finding a job to help my family more times than I can count. Then I walked into your classroom. You greeted me with a smile, and made sure I left each class with a hug. Most importantly, you made me believe in myself and that all my dreams could really come true…You said something that I will never forget. You told me, “I will never give up on you.” You put those words into action. When I told you that I couldn’t complete my homework because I didn’t own a computer or printer, you started an afterschool Homework Club for all the ESL students so we could use these things. …My grades improved a lot from this.
“When I needed to pass my Writing SOL in order to graduate this year, I thought there was no chance.  But you did. You came to my house in the evenings and on the weekend to work with me on my writing and reading. The day I was called down to my guidance counselor and told that I passed my Writing SOL was the happiest day of my life. He told me that I passed, and that it meant I could graduate! What made me even happier was telling you, and seeing how proud you were of me. You cried and took me and a friend out to a steak dinner that night, just as you promised. You’ve always kept your promises to me, and I admire and respect how much you care for me and your students more than you will ever know.”
Along with the title of “Teacher of the Year,” Mrs. Hefner will receive $5,000 and will be recognized at a special community celebration at her local Barnes & Noble store in Fredericksburg, VA. Mrs. Hefner’s school will also receive $5,000.
The Barnes & Noble My Favorite Teacher program provides middle and high students with the opportunity to tell their communities how much they appreciate their teachers. Teachers from Grades 1-12 are eligible for nomination. Awards for local and regional winners included prizes for the teachers, NOOKs® and more.
The My Favorite Teacher Contest runs from September to March. Details on the contest rules can be found at www.bn.com/myfavoriteteacher.

About Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS) is a Fortune 500 company and the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products. The Company operates 649 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 states, and one of the Web’s largest e-commerce sites, BN.com (www.bn.com). Its NOOK digital business offers award-winning NOOK® products and an expansive collection of digital reading and entertainment content through the NOOK Store® (www.nook.com), while Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC operates 717 bookstores serving over five million students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States.
General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained by visiting the Company's corporate website: www.barnesandnobleinc.com.
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