School district staff celebrates | Education | The Press and Standard

by | August 22, 2016 3:00 pm

Last Updated: August 21, 2016 at 9:57 am

Photos by GEORGE SALSBERRY

CELEBRATING EDUCATION. In the photo above, Colleton County High School Spanish teacher Laura Clark speaks after being announced as the District Teacher of the Year. In the photo below, the school district’s Support Employee of the Year Tameka Washington offers remarks after receiving her award. The second photo below shows Colleton County High School student Keon Stephens during his reflections on his educational experience. The photo at the bottom of the page shows the district support staff personnel honored during the celebration.

The hundreds of employees who are the Colleton County School District arrived at the high school’s Performing Arts Center the morning of Aug. 12 to celebrate.

Everyone involved in educating Colleton County’s children was there to celebrate the start of the 2016-2017 school year.gs.convocation.keon stevens1.p.8-18

If the gathering could be compared to a pep rally, Colleton High School student Keon Stevens superbly assumed the role of head coach. His speech, which used humor and heartfelt remembrance of his educational experiences, brought his audience of administrators, principals, teachers, teacher aides, custodial workers, cafeteria workers and bus drivers to their feet in a standing ovation.

His high school perspective followed an elementary student’s perspective by Forest Hills Elementary School student Rosie Temple and the middle school’s perspective  by Danielle Heyward.

The school district staff was serenaded by the Elementary Honors Chorus and Colleton High School student Carlyle Griffin. School District employee Zelda White, accompanied by Seyvon Broughton, led the singing of the National Anthem following the presentation of the colors by the members of the NJROTC.

The celebration also included naming the Support Employee of the Year and the  District Teacher of the Year.gs.convocation.crowd.p.8-18

Prior to naming the Support Employee honoree, Assistant Superintendent Cliff Warren called the winners from each school and support department to the stage.

With them gathered under the spotlights, Warren announced that the district winner was Tameka Washington, a secretary and bookkeeper at Bells Elementary School who has now moved to the district’s Title One office.

In accepting the honor, Washington read the following from the statement she was asked to write in vying for the award:

“Often as support staff, we may feel our jobs aren’t as important when in fact it is, our jobs are just as important as anyone else in this district because everyone needs support!

gs.convocation.support staff.p.8-18“As support staff, we should always take pride in everything we do for our job because years later, you never know what child will come back to you and say it was because of you I am the successful person I am today. You made a difference in my life! Even a former co-worker may say it was because of the support from you that I was able to be productive and make it through a day at work. Therefore, always take pride in what you do and remember everyone and everything needs ‘support’ in order to stand firm and strong.”

A little later Warren returned to the podium to conduct the announcement of the District Teacher of the Year. The honor went to Colleton County High School Spanish teacher Laura Clark.

Clark, in accepting the award, said:

“Among the many factors that influenced me to become a teacher, I feel the two most powerful are my innate desire to make a positive difference in the lives of others and the joy I received from working with teenagers.

“As I entertained the idea of returning to college for my undergraduate degree as an adult, I grappled with what degree I would seek. When I dwelled on when I am the happiest, it came down to those two things.

“Teaching at the high school level gives me a daily dose of both of them.

“As a student, I really enjoyed my French and Spanish classes and developed close bonds with those teachers, one of whom I am still in contact with today.

“As a career changer, I realized I had the opportunity to empower so many young people through the career of teaching.

“It is by far the hardest job I have ever had in terms of meeting the constant demands, and also the most rewarding in that I feel I am fulfilling my true purpose.”

The keynote speaker for the celebration was former Colleton teacher Kambrell Garvin, who left the classroom to enter law school.

By GEORGE SALSBERRY

gsalsberry@lowcountry.com

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