Some 125-150 people gathered in the restored Pitman Theatre in downtown Gadsden to honor Teachers of the Year from schools in the Attalla, Gadsden and Etowah County school systems and six private schools at a luncheon May 4th.
This event has been held for a number of years and may possibly be the only one of its kind in the state where several systems join together like this. A neat idea for sure. And I was honored to be the speaker for the occasion.
By my figuring, the 44 honorees recognized have more than 500 years of experience. And they touch their students in a variety of ways. Speech therapist, music, career tech, coaching, in addition to elementary, middle and high school classroom teachers. Nor do they confine themselves to just teaching. They are year book sponsors, work with student government, tutor, work with school clubs, etc.
Some have interesting backgrounds. Michael Lamb spent 22 years in the Army before becoming an elementary PE teacher 15 years ago. Paulette Weaver began as a teacher’s aide in 1992 and when her daughter went off to Jacksonville State to be an elementary teacher, she went with her. They graduated together with degrees in elementary education.
Brian Boozer was a professional actor in Atlanta for ten years before returning home to teach. Today he is at his alma mater, Hokes Bluff high school. Kirby Derrick worked in the lumber and timber business for two decades before getting his teaching certificate. He has been at Glencoe high for 18 years.
The event’s most poignant moment was the recognition of Michelle Myrick, a former teacher at Coosa Christian who passed away earlier this year after a long battle with cancer.
Every time I am with such a group I always think of how many lives have been influenced by their actions and good deeds. No doubt they have imparted life long lessons on various academic subjects to their students. But these are not what their students remember most. For them, each will always be “my teacher” or “my coach” and a smile will cross their face as they think of them many, many years from now.
I told the crowd that I will always believe those who work with young people are truly doing “the Good Lord’s work.” I believe that from the bottom on my heart.