On October 28, 2015, I was excited as I headed to a celebration at the Treen Instructional Technology Center. There, the St. Tammany Parish School System hosted a special luncheon to honor each school’s Teacher of the Year. As my fellow honorees arrived, I thought of the song by Kool and the Gang, “Celebration”. Yes, “There’s a party goin’ on right here, a celebration to last throughout the years.”

I was especially thrilled as two of my third grade classes were asked to sing a patriotic tune for the beginning of the program. As my students proudly performed “This Land is Your Land”, I was extremely grateful to share such a delightful experience with them. Following their performance, Superintendent Folse spoke to the teachers, and he congratulated each of us for being chosen for this special honor. Next, a video was shown which featured teachers from St. Tammany Parish that had been selected as Teacher of the Year for the state. In the video, each of us spoke about how we are inspired daily by our students. Then, we were all treated to a delicious lunch while we each relished the opportunity to speak with the other attendees.

Following the meal, Mr. Pete Jabbia, our Associate Superintendent, then introduced each of the honorees. At the same time, information about each teacher was displayed on the screen. From volunteer work to inspirations for teaching, I loved reading the information about my fellow teachers.

In his closing speech, Mr. Folse shared some interesting facts about the entire group. He said collectively, the group of honorees had 852 years of teaching experience with 674 of those being in St. Tammany Parish. Out of the 55 schools represented, 23 of the teachers had master’s degree or higher while 15 different universities were represented.

As I headed back to school, I was overcome with gratitude to work in a school district that will “celebrate the good times” of its teachers.

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