Carroll County High School held its first-ever Golden Cavalier Celebration and Banquet on May 22. The event included the nine students with the highest grade point average, their parents, and the teachers that each student named as having the most influence on their lives.
In his opening remarks, Carroll County Schools Superintendent Dr. Strader Blankenship said education took “Study, research, time and parental support.”
“I know that the most important teacher a student has is the parents, and that’s the way it should be. Being a superintendent is a piece of cake compared to being a parent. The hardest job I’ve ever had is being a parent.”
However, Blankenship said he also wanted to give credit to the teachers who have made a difference.
When he informed each teacher that he or she had been chosen as being influential in a student’s life, Blankenship said, “They were visibly shaken. The reason the honor is so special is because it is a student who choose them.”
“We have superstar teachers in all our buildings, and when a student comes by and says thanks, that’s what drives teachers to teach.”
Each of the nine students were then presented an award by Carroll County School Board Chairman Brian Spencer and given a few minutes to introduce the teacher they had chosen and why they chose them.
Megan Alderman, daughter of Ms. Lynn Alderman, received her award first, then introduced chemistry teacher Fred Mitchell as the teacher that most influenced her.
“His class was fun and interesting, and one of the hardest classes I took. Yes, you heard that correctly, chemistry and pleasure in the same sentence,” said Alderman, who will major in chemistry at Virginia Tech. “CCHS is very lucky to have a dedicated instructor like Mr. Mitchell.”
Jared Boyd, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Stacy Boyd, will major in biochemistry in the field of agriculture at Virginia Tech. He chose Randy Webb.
“He pushed me more than any other teacher. It was an honor to be his student,” said Boyd. “He was my FFA advisor, but is a great advisor both in the classroom and out.”
Kelsey Brown, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alan Caudell, said when she first entered Shannon Dalton’s yearbook class, she said, “Get me out of here, I’m a math kid.”
However, Brown said she soon changed her mind.
“She pushes you like a parent to do better and better, and she leads you in the right direction,” said Brown.
Lindsay Brumfield, the daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Charles Brumfield, Jr., named retired elementary school teacher Judy Dye as her most influential teacher.
“Mrs. Dye taught me at the most vital time in my educational career,” said Brumfield, who labeled herself a “demon child” as a kindergartener. “Her attitude changed my own attitude about school. The most important thing I learned in the first grade was that I can do anything I want to do.”
Brumfield, who plans a career in medicine, related a story concerning Dye’s naming of a student of the month. Brumfield said she desperately wanted to be student of the month and when she received the designated sticker she was thrilled.
“It wasn’t just the sticker, it was the acceptance of Mrs. Dye I wanted,” said Brumfield. “Mrs. Dye is the reason I am here today. I owe her a lifetime of thanks.”
Katlyn Gallimore, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Randal Gallimore, named Amy Hash, who was her third-grade teacher.
“She pushed me and encouraged me to do great things. She was always fair and honest with every child she taught,” said Gallimore, who plans to study nursing at Wytheville Community College.
Erika Goad, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Goad, tabbed Carroll County High School English teacher Donna Ogle as her most influential teacher.
“Mrs. Ogle was the first teacher who gave books and writing a different meaning to me. She taught me what you can learn from books,” said Goad. “Her class was one of the best classes I’ve ever taken and she is one of the best teachers. (Mrs. Ogle) thanks for teaching me English and so much more.”
Kellie Worrell was chosen by Samantha Hill, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Hill.
“She made learning math fun, and she always worked closely with students,” said Hill, who will attend Virginia Tech. “Our relationship did not stop when I left St. Paul Elementary School. I know if ever need help or advice, I know she will be there.”
Kenley Meredith, son of Mr. and Mrs. Keith Meredith, named John Carpenter as his most influential teacher.
“Mr. Carpenter always stressed life experiences, as well as education. I want to thank him for the way he molded my ability in my middle school and high school career.”
Ethan Webb, son of Mr. and Mrs. Kendall Webb, chose Vance Leggett as the teacher who had the most impact on him. Webb said, “Up to the tenth grade I hadn’t been challenged, but when I came to the high school that changed.”
Webb took Leggett’s building trades thinking it would be an “easy” first period class. However, he said he learned much more in the class than he ever expected.
“I’m not pursuing a career in building trades, but you learn a lot more than that in Mr. Leggett’s class. He showed me how to act and treat other people.”
Following the presentations, Spencer said, “This is an emotional night and it means a lot to me to serve on the board of a system that would put something like this together.”
Blankenship then closed the program, issuing a plea to CCHS’ brightest students to not forget their roots.
“I look forward to Saturday when I hand you your diplomas. I also look forward to see where you’re going, but consider coming back to Carroll County. We need you here. You can take us where we need to be,” he said.
Michael Howlett can be contacted at 276-728-7311 or Twitter@MikeEHowlett