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Teacher of the Year gets new car

“You have no idea how exciting this is for me. I’ve been driving my old car since I got my first teaching job 11 years ago, and it was used then.”

Jessica Garner, the 2008 Union County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, made these comments Thursday (August 21, 2008) as she was handed the keys to a brand new 2009 Chevrolet Malibu, complete with a year’s lease, by Greg Lawrence of Lawrence Chevrolet in Pageland, SC.

The presentation was made during the annual Teacher of the Year luncheon, held each year at the top teacher’s school. Garner, 30, received the car amidst the cheers of fellow Porter Ridge High School teachers. Lawrence Chevrolet is one of five area car dealers who partner with the school system each year to provide a one-year’s lease to the UCPS Teacher of the Year.

Garner was also given a Teacher of the Year ring donated by Kent Gaither of Jostens, the first teacher of the year to receive a commemorative ring. “The ring is beautiful,” she said. “I’ll wear it every day and it will remind me why I do what I do.”

UCPS Superintendent Dr. Ed Davis unveiled a portrait of Garner during the ceremony that will hang in the Teacher Hall of Fame on the sixth floor of the Union County Government Center. “You exemplify the brightest and best of our teachers,” he said. “To be chosen by one’s peers in anything is the greatest compliment you can receive. I applaud the Porter Ridge High School staff for picking you as your school’s teacher of the year, because you were then singled out to represent the entire school system.”

He also thanked the five car dealers for their participation in the Teacher of the Year Car Ceremony: Lawrence Chevrolet/Pontiac, Metro Honda, Bob Mayberry Chrysler City, Dale Jarrett Ford and Suzuki and Griffin Motor Company. The dealers take turns each year giving the Teacher of the Year a one-year-lease on a new car.

Garner told her peers that she was honored to be chosen among so many gifted teachers at Porter Ridge High, who are all passionate about doing what is best for students. “We truly have great teachers here,” she said. “If we fight against the status quo and constantly search for new answers about how to ‘do it right,’ we may be able to exact some change in not only the lives of our students, but also in the education system as a whole.”

Garner will represent UCPS at the Regional Teacher of the Year Competition, and will be recognized in such events as the Union County Christmas parade.  

Some of those in attendance during Thursday’s ceremony included Garners’ husband, Nelson Garner, a PE teacher at Porter Ridge Elementary and soccer coach at Piedmont High School; her mother- and father-in-law, Bob and Ruthie Garner from Burlington; fellow teachers at Porter Ridge High; UCPS administrators; UCPS Board of Education members John Parker and Richard Weiner; and county commissioner Roger Long.

An 11-year veteran teacher, Garner has taught at Porter Ridge High School for four years. In being named teacher of the year, Garner also received $500 cash for her personal use, a UCPS Teacher of the Year plaque and a laptop computer.

For more about Garner, the 2008 Teacher of the Year, visit the UCPS web site  www.ucps.k12.nc.us and search for Porter Ridge 2008 teacher of the year.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, Publications Coordinator
Posted: Aug 25, 2008 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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