A Proud Tradition of Honoring Excellence

A Proud Tradition of Honoring Excellence
Posted on 04/14/2016

By Carrie Sterrs, Coordinator of Public Relations and Special Programs and Facilitator of the Teacher of the Year Program

"Each student has a unique goal for their future, and it is a teacher’s job to guide those students to reach their goals," Karen Eure, the 2013 Worcester County Teacher of the Year, told a crowd of over 400 attendees at the 29th annual Teacher of the Year Banquet on April 1. Using a horizon as a metaphor for a student’s goal, Eure said:

“Education is an ever-evolving, changing tide, and our role as teachers is to guide our students to their horizon – their goals – beyond Worcester County Public Schools,” she said. “As educators, we must keep a steady eye on that horizon as we help our students navigate their own paths to higher education and careers beyond.”

At the banquet, Kristina Belcher, an English Language Arts teacher at Stephen Decatur High School, was named as Worcester’s 2016 top teacher. Teaching is a family tradition for her, she said in the Teacher of the Year video, and one that she is proud to continue.

“I create a classroom community that is safe and welcoming and an environment that celebrates cultural diversity and embraces academic differences,” Belcher said in her candidate submission. “I believe in [my students’] capabilities. I see potential in each and every one of them. I strive to help my students build their self-esteem daily so they can rise above their own expectations, achieve academic success, and receive positive attention for their efforts.”

Honoring Belcher and the thirteen other candidates for Teacher of the Year has become an annual tradition during which community partners come together to support this recognition of our teachers as program sponsors. This year, we were fortunate to have thirty-three local businesses and organizations contribute to help send the message that teachers in Worcester are valued greatly.

Worcester County Public Schools extends tremendous gratitude to these partners in education. The following businesses were Gold-level sponsors: Ayres, Jenkins, Gordy & Almand, P.A.; Bank of Ocean City; Calvin B. Taylor Banking Company; Delmarva Printing, Inc.; Farmers Bank of Willards; the Ocean City/Berlin Optimist Club; and Park Place Jewelers.

The following businesses were Silver-level sponsors: Author Julia Ash; Atlantic General Hospital; Baxter Enterprises (McDonald’s); Coates, Coates, & Coates, P.A.; First Shore Federal; and Pittsville Motors.

Local businesses also donated gifts for the 2016 Worcester County TOY and/or to all 14 candidates. The gift sponsors were: Ayers Creek Adventures; Bay Shore Development Corporation; Bergey & Company, P.A.; Delmarva Shorebirds; Jiffy Lube; Julia A. Purnell Museum; Ocean City Fish Company; Ocean City Golf Club, Inc.; Park Place Jewelers; Phillips Seafood Restaurants; Planet Maze / Lasertron; Pocomoke River State Park; Rainbow Florist; Ruark Golf; The Treasure Chest; and the Town of Ocean City.

Four companies also gave donations to support the program: Berlin Optical; Mitchell & Hastings Financial Services, Inc.; Sharp Energy; and the Snow Hill Lions Club.

All 14 TOY candidates were recognized at the banquet. “Each candidate represents the best-of-the-best,” said Board of Education President Jonathan Cook. “All of you are ambassadors, and all of you are winners in our minds.”

If you have additional questions about the Teacher of the Year Program or sponsorships, please contact me at 410-632-5092.


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For exclusive web content about our 2016 Teacher of the Year program, click here.