My most favorite part of the final annual Talent Show and Awards Assembly at South Middle School was the naming of the Most Inspirational Teacher at the school.
The award began two years ago when eighth grader Breanna Martin asked me if she could make a presentation to history teacher Rocky Biggers, who worked with her to overcome her fear of speaking in front of an audience. During the second semester of that year, Breanna spoke in front of an entire auditorium as part of Project Citizen and she later repeated that feat in front of judges in the state competition at Jefferson City.
The presentation was clearly something that meant a great deal to Rocky, and others told me that something like that should be a part of the program, so it has been continued on the final day of the 2007-2008 school year and this year. During both years, I had my eighth graders write papers telling why their nominated teacher should receive the award.
Last year, special education teacher Kathy Weaver won the award and this year, thanks to two students she helped to get through tough times, the Most Inspirational Teacher for this year was Ms. Debbie Moore, the Success teacher at South.
The success program is an innovative program designed to help students, some of whom are having problems and are at risk of not succeeding. It is a program where sometimes you don't see the rewards immediately or for long stretches of time, but that is something Debbie Moore has become accustomed. Before she became the Success teacher two years ago, she had taught in-school suspension for several years.
If she did not realize it before, Debbie certainly received evidence Monday that she is getting through to students who are often the most difficult to reach.