Teacher of the year

East­side Latin/Greek in­struc­tor Eric Adams hon­ored

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - By Jenny Thompson

Eric Adams, Latin and Greek teacher at East­side High School, was hon­ored Thurs­day evening as the 2008 New­ton County Teacher of the Year.

“My stu­dents will prob­a­bly be pretty ex­cited,” Adams said. “Maybe they’ll lis­ten more now, but they al­ready do that pretty well any­way.”

Adams has taught at East­side since earn­ing a Bach­e­lor of Arts in Latin, Greek and For­eign Lan­guage Ed­u­ca­tion from the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia in 2001. In 2002 he re­ceived cer­ti­fica- tion from the Ad­vanced Place­ment In­sti­tute.

This year he earned a Mas­ter of Latin also from UGA.

He is a mem­ber of both the Amer­i­can Classical As­so­ci­a­tion and the Ge­or­gia Classical As­so­ci­a­tion, spon­sors the Ju­nior Classical League at East­side and serves as chair of the Ge­or­gia Ju­nior Classical League.

Adams has also served on the county in­ter­view panel for the Gov­er­nor’s Hon­ors Pro­gram and on a com­mit­tee to de­velop the Latin Ge­or­gia As­sess­ment for the Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Ed­u­ca­tors.

Thurs­day’s awards cer­e­mony and re­cep­tion at New­ton High School was spon­sored by the New­ton County School Sys­tem and the New­ton County Cham­ber of Com­merce as well as 24 other or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Bun­cie Hay Lan­ners, past chair of the cham­ber and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Arts As­so­ci­a­tion in New­ton County, an­nounced the win­ner af­ter read­ing excerpts from the es­say he sub­mit­ted to the six judges.

“I be­lieve that a teacher must be driven,” Lan­ners read from Adams’ es­say, “driven to suc­ceed, driven to learn and driven to im­prove.”

He also said teach­ing is his life.

Teach­ers of the year from each of the county’s 20 schools had to sub­mit an es­say to the judg­ing panel as well as let­ters of rec­om­men­da­tion from col­leagues and stu­dents.

Fi­nal­ists — Adams, Fairview El­e­men­tary fourth grade teacher Tracey McCart­ney and Liv­ingston El­e­men­tary fourth grade teacher Pam Akin — had to in­ter­view with the judges, who also ob­served them in their class­room for half a day.

NCSS Su­per­in­ten­dent Steven What­ley con­grat­u­lated all of the school- level teach­ers of the year who he said to be named as semi- fi­nal­ists had to plan to con­tinue to teach, in­spire their stu­dents, be re­spected and ad­mired by their col­leagues, be ar­tic­u­late and poised and be in­volved in the com­mu­nity.

“ Th­ese ed­u­ca­tors sym­bol­ize what is the best in teach­ing,” What­ley said. “ We’re proud of them and we re­al­ize teach­ing is a very de­mand­ing job.”

Shelley Yeat­man, 2007 Teacher of the Year, also con­grat­u­lated the teach­ers and said she en­joyed spend­ing time with all of them.

She en­cour­aged the teach­ers to uti­lize the arts in their class­rooms and even sang an orig­i­nal song about us­ing theater in les­son plans to the tune of “ On the Street Where You Live” from “ My Fair Lady.”

“ We need to strive to de­velop a world where peo­ple know them­selves as car­ing and com­pas­sion­ate peo­ple,” Yeat­man said. “ If we do that then we can step back and watch the magic hap­pen.

“ Love life and love learn­ing — dream big for your kids.”

Lan­ners said as a par­ent, a PTO mem­ber and school coun­cil mem­ber she un­der­stands and ap­pre­ci­ates the hard work of teach­ers.

“ I do be­lieve there will be a spe­cial place in heaven for teach­ers,” Lan­ners said.

Adams was pre­sented a crys­tal vase, a $ 1,000 check, a three- month rental of a Mus­tang con­vert­ible from Cov­ing­ton Ford and a 10carat gold ring from Herff Jones.

Fi­nal­ists Aiken and McCart­ney also re­ceived crys­tal vases.

Board of Ed­u­ca­tion Vice Chair Al­mond Turner con­cluded the evening by shar­ing a quote with the au­di­ence.

“ Suc­cess is not the re­sult of a spon­ta­neous com­bus­tion, but it is the re­sult of set­ting your­self on fire,” Turner said. “All of you on this stage have done that, and keep the fires burn­ing.”

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Night of honor: New­ton County Cham­ber of Com­merce Pres­i­dent John Boothby, left, presents Eric Adams of East­side High School with a vase mo­ments af­ter Adams was an­nounced as the 2008 New­ton County School Sys­tem Teacher of the Year dur­ing a re­cep­tion at New­ton High School Thurs­day evening.

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