National Teacher Appreciation Day

National Teacher Appreciation Day is held every year to recognize the dedication of teachers. Many children spend more hours during the school year with their teachers’ than their parents’. The day to day influence of a teacher has the ability to change the course of a child’s life.


William Arthur Ward said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” Several weeks ago, the newspaper asked readers to tell us about teachers that went above and beyond. While every teacher should be thanked for their commitment to education, individuals chose to submit these teachers for recognition:

Derrick Poff recognized by Samantha Rich:

“a wonderful teacher & basketball coach! Always there to talk when you needed a friend & pushed you to always do your best.”

Cloyce Hinkle recognized by Douglas Johnson:

“Cloyce Hinkle agriculture Knox Central. Not only does he do a great job of inspireing young adults to rise above self implemented standards of education he also offers the key to sucesses striving to open all doors to kids to further there’re education on a state and national stage. With great emphis in pruseing a volital education on a collegeant level. All while producing a family atmosphere thru many educational trips and candid adventures. Also is a very godly man not only in church attendance but simply in the way he conducts himself in the everyday class room and personal life.”

Jennifer Stacy recognized by Gabriel Urgelles (4 years old):

“Mrs. Stacy is my favorite teacher because she is beautiful. I like school because of all the teachers. They love me and make school fun.”

Lisa Sweet recognized by Cynthia Meadows:

“She is a first grade teacher at Whitley County Central Primary. My daughter failed her first year of first grade and ended up in Mrs. Sweets class this year. My daughter has had four sets of tubes in her ears and had a hard time with her speach. Mrs. Sweet has worked harder than any of her other teachers ever has. She pushed my daughter to her fullest and now my child is an Independent Reader and has reached a goal of 75 points in her A.R. For this I am very greatful for Mrs. Sweet. She has not only inpacted my daughters life but mine as well! My daughter will now get to go to second grade and read with the best of them!”

Karen Gibson recognized by Missy Payne Scent:

“I graduated high school in 1993 and I still have such deep thankfulness and adoration for Karen Gibson. I always dreamed that someday I would get to come back like the Governer at the end of Mr. Holland’s opus and give a grand speech about how much she affected my life. I had a very hard time with my self-esteem in high school, and in a sense, she saved my life. Her classes were wonderful, but more importantly than that, I always knew that she cared about me as a person. She always took the time to encourage, support and help me succeed by playing to my strenghths. I had several really wonderful teachers, but Mrs. Gibson will ALWAYS be my “Mr. Holland.”

Alix Smith recognized by Teresa Wilson:

“Alix Smith, the Spanish teacher at Lynn Camp has made a big difference in the lives of some of her Spanish students. She has helped to make it possible for them to get to go to another country. Last year it was Honduras, this year it will be Peru. Many of these students would have never had the opportunity to visit another country without Ms. Smith.”

Jessica Epperson recognized by Nicole McAdams Carnes:

“Jessica is truly one of the best teachers I’ve came in contact with. My daughter had her last year and she takes learning to a whole new level. She makes it fun to learn. You can tell she choose her career because of her love for children! She always, ALWAYS has a smile on her face no matter what’s going on around her. She taught my daughter a whole new outlook about school. It’s not just school to her anymore, it’s a fun place to be and it’s fun to learn! That’s why she is a spectacular person, teacher, & friend! I’d love for her to move grade levels year after year so we could keep her.”

Regina Bargo recognized by Jillian Nicole Smith:

“The teacher that has made a difference in my child’s life is Regina Bargo at Girdler Elementary. She teaches Kindergarten. She pushed for my daughter to get speech at school without the help from her my daughter would have not received it! She is a wonderful, godly woman who I am glad that my daughter had a chance to be in her classroom! She works hard for her students…. making sure the succeed in anything they do. She goes beyond making sure there is no problem at school and learns new teaching ideas to the kids to make learning fun!”

Lori Miracle recognized by Jamie Wilson:

“There is a GREAT teacher her name is LORI MIRACLE she teaches at Knox central high school she has motivated my son so much he is going to union college when he graduates high school this year in June she has been such a blessing for my son he really and truly likes her he said she is a great teacher !! My sons name is james Wilson and is a senior this year and he is making really good grades !”

Amy Collins recognized by Becca Clarkston:

“She was always there when you needed to talk. And she always pushed you to try harder and still does. She is kind to all her students and loves what she does.”

Kim Jones recognized by Carla Lawson:

“Mrs. Kim Jones at Barbourville Elementary has an impact on every child that she has taught. My two daughters have been fortunate enough to have her twice (in different grades) and her connection and dedication is immeasurable. She gives 110% for every child. I’ve seen her spend 13-14 hours at school several days and spend her own money for birthday parties when less fortunate students didn’t have money for a class party. No child goes without a Christmas present, end of the year gift, etc. She gives her all in teaching, but even more than that, she gives her students a belief in themselves that many did not have. Everyone leaves her classroom knowing they can do anything they set their mind to!

While Barbourville has many teachers that the above descriptions fit, Ginger Hall, Sherry Stark, Kandi Hampton, etc., Mrs. Jones, to us, is he epitome of what a teacher should be.”

Dorothy Buchanan recognized by Carla Jordan:

“I’ve had many favorite teachers throughout my lifetime. Maybe because I’ve gone to school for so long I have many to choose from but the teacher who had the greatest impact on my life was my first grade teacher, Mrs. Dorothy Buchanan.

It was the Friday before Mother’s Day in 1964 and I was in first grade. I was very excited as I walked to school that cool May morning with my Roy Rogers and Dale Evans metal lunch box in my hand. It was a special day because my first grade class was going on our first field trip. We were walking to a local florist to buy a rose for Mother’s Day. When I got to school and approached Mrs. Buchanan’s desk I realized that I had forgotten my dollar….. I was mortified! With tears in my eyes I explained my dilemma to Mrs. Buchanan. Everyone’s mother would be getting a rose for Mother’s Day except mine. I was heartbroken. Mrs. Buchanan patted me on the shoulder, smiled and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll work something out.”

The walk to the florist, although only a few blocks, was the longest walk of my life. When we arrived at the florist, we stood in line single file and one by one picked out our rose and paid our dollar. As I got closer and closer to the front of the line, I became more and more upset. I didn’t know what to expect but I feared I would be embarrassed because I didn’t have a dollar. When it came my turn to pick out a rose, Mrs. Buchanan walked to a young man at the cash register and whispered in his ear. He looked at me with a smile that assured me everything was going to be OK. On that day in 1964 a charge account was created for a first grader! I was allowed to choose my rose just like everybody else and was told that I could bring my dollar on Monday. I proudly took my rose home to my mother and returned to school on Monday morning, dollar in hand! Today, fifty years later, I still have a charge account at Buchanan’s Florist and Gifts.

Maya-Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Well, I don’t remember much about first grade. I don’t remember much about what I learned in first grade. I can only remember a few friends from first grade but I remember how Mrs. Buchanan made me feel…..SPECIAL and TRUSTWORTHY!

Mrs. Buchanan retired after 46 years of teaching and went to work in her son’s florist. She still had that same knack of making me feel special and valued. Even as an adult, every time I visited the shop she encouraged me. She would tell me how smart she thought I was, how pretty I looked that day, what a good student I was in first grade. I didn’t always feel special or smart or pretty but in my mind, if Mrs. Buchanan said I was, it had to be so. I found myself seeking her company more and more, especially on days I felt down in the dumps, unloved or just worn out. I would find a reason to pop into the store. She always lifted my spirits and made me feel loved and valued, and as if I were her favorite student of all time!

She passed away a few years ago. I lost my biggest fan that day, with the exception of my mother. I made my way to the funeral home to pay my respects to one of the finest ladies I had ever known. It was very important that, as her favorite student of all time, I visit her one last time. What I found was that Dorothy Buchanan was special to many people from our small town. Mayors, judges, attorneys, doctors, teachers, administrators, politicians, law enforcement officials, gas station attendants, store clerks-and the list goes on-all made their way to the funeral home to pay their final respects. Obviously, it wasn’t just I who felt special; the secret was out. I wasn’t her favorite after all! Every student she ever had was her favorite. She had that special knack that all good teachers have, the ability to make each student feel special in the knowledge that he or she is the teacher’s favorite student of all time!”

The staff at The Mountain Advocate would like to sincerely thank all teachers for their commitment to education and improving the lives of our youth.

Do you follow us on social media such as Facebook or Twitter? If a specific teacher greatly influenced your life and you didn’t get your submission in on time, please feel free to use the hashtags #ThankATeacher and #MountainAdvocate to thank a special teacher on social media. National Teacher Appreciation Week ends on May 10.