First National Bank held its 22nd Annual Teachers Appreciation Banquet last week with nearly 400 educators gathering at Lincoln County High School for the event.
Lincoln Countian and Register of Deeds Randy Delap was guest speaker. Delap is know for his volunteer efforts throughout the community.
“I’d like to thank the bank for asking to speak to you tonight,” Delap said, addressing the crowd. “After Mr. Jimmy (Cox) asked me that day I was on my way back to the courthouse I thought what in the world can I talk to this group of teachers about they don’t already know, and I thought I’d talk about my teachers that gave me the most inspiration when I was in school.
“There are a whole lot of teachers that meant a lot to me and helped me shape my life.
“I went to Lincoln Elementary School, a small school about two hundred students and everybody knew everybody. You hear from your parents and grandparents having to walk two or three miles to school in the snow and the rain. Well, I had to walk about 200 yards – I could see the schoolhouse from my back door. I didn’t get to ride a bus much until I got on up into high school.
“My first grade teacher was Mrs. Jared. She was everything you think a first grade teacher should be. She was kind, loving and treated you like you were one of her own, and that’s the way you need to start out in the first grade.
“Mrs. Flynt in the second grade was a modern day nutritionist – she gave you stars for cleaning your plate at lunch. Most of you who know me know I’m a picky eater – at the end of the year, I had some half stars, quarter stars and some with just a little point off the stars.
“It’s the little things teachers do that you remember,” Delap continued. “Coach Barry Campbell down at Blanche is probably the only teacher I had still teaching. He was my 6th, 7th and 8th grade teacher and basketball coach. Those basketball games between Lincoln and Highland Rim were big rivals.
“When we graduated from Lincoln, we had about 36 in our class,” Delap continued. “There were about four of us that came to town to Central. You talk about cultural shock – when you come from a 200-person school in Lincoln to about 900 at Central, and of course, that’s where I met Mr. Leonard Mansfield.
“One day I was sitting in Mrs. Landers’ English class. He called me into the hall. He reached into his pocket and told me every good country boy needs a good pocketknife, and he gave me that knife. Of course, you can’t carry a pocketknife at school these days, but that meant a lot to me – of course he was courting my grandmother.
“Mr. Randy Whitehead in the FFA – that was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Everything from saying the creed, public speaking and the skills contest.”
“Mrs. Elizabeth Haislip in English – the only teacher that ever called my mama. She told mama that I was either looking out the window wishing he was farming or flirting with the girl next to him. I denied that to mama, but to tell ya’ll the truth, that’s what I was doing most of the time.
“I had another teacher that year that was a real inspiration to me and that was Mr. Mike McCown in American History.
“Miss Adnia Rice is probably the reason I can get up in front of you and speak today. I had Miss Rice in Speech and Drama for two years, and she took a little ole country boy from Lincoln and taught me how to get up in front of people. I can give her credit for that, and she was a very special lady and helped me more than anything.
“To finish up just to let you know it wasn’t all me in senior English. I had Mrs. Dickey, made straight A’s.
“I just want you all to know you may not realize each day what you do for those children in your class – you may have some sitting there that look like they’re daydreaming, but you are teaching them. They’re learning things from you that they will use all their life.
“Some of those memories may be good – some of those memories may be bad, but you do leave an impression on these young people, and I appreciate everything you did for me.”
During the banquet, Dr. Wanda Shelton, director of the Lincoln County School System, presented the county Teacher of the Year Awards. Those honored were Deborah Zawistowski, Pre-K-4 Teacher of the Year from Unity; Judy Conley, 5th-8th grade Teacher of the Year from Blanche; and Renea Thomas, Teacher of the Year from Lincoln County High School.
Dr. Janine Wilson, director of Fayetteville City School System, presented awards to teachers in the city system. Those honored were Patricia Jean, Teacher of the Year from Ralph Askins Elementary; Brittany Miller, Teacher of the Year from Fayetteville Middle School; and Amy Osteen, Teacher of the Year at Fayetteville High School.
Paul Fisher, head administrator at Riverside Christian Academy, presented the Teacher of the Year award to Shari Osier.
Lincoln County Education Association (LCEA) awards were presented by Dail Tallman and Tracy Durham. Those honored were, from Blanche, Teacher of the Year, Betty Fullerton and Support Person, Sheila Long; Flintville, Teacher of the Year, Angie Shelton; Highland Rim Teacher of the Year, Mary Lyn Usery; South Lincoln, Teacher of the Year, Lana Simms; Unity, Teacher of the year, David Mitchell, and Support Person, Pam Thornton; and Ninth Grade Academy, Teacher of the Year, Pat Gault.
The LCEA Scholarship was presented to Meghan Sullenger, ranked third in her class at Lincoln County High School.
Highland Rim was presented $250 for having 100 percent of their teachers in attendance.