NEWBERRY — Newberry College alumni and teachers were honored Friday evening as part of the first teacher convocation.
The event was a part of the homecoming festivities for the weekend and 16 teachers - from new to retired - were nominated and praised for their efforts to educate.
The following teachers were nominated by anyone except Newberry College faculty and staff: Candice Brueke, Christopher Burkett, Dianne Cotney, Carla Marie Cruickshanks, Courtney S. Giles, Bill Hilton Jr., Jennifer J. Howard, John Hudgens, Julian Mims, William P. Smith, Renee Stubbs, April Troglauer, Mack Vanderford Jr., Craig D. Wheatley, Cynthia Ann H. Williamson and Leah Yarborough.
The four winning teachers were selected by an anonymous committee through a blind review process. A winner was selected to represent the following categories: new teacher in his or her first five years of teaching, veteran educator with six years or more, educator working outside the classroom and retired educator.
The new teacher is Wheatley, the veteran is Howard, the outside classroom is Burkett and the retired educator is Hilton.
Scott Joyner, Newberry College’s vice president for institutional advancement, opened the ceremony and said, “You all deserve this. I’m glad you could be recognized for your work. You mean so much to us and we appreciate it.”
Dr. Cindy Johnson, assistant dean for academic affairs, organized the event and said, “This event is all about collaboration. We chose to call this convocation because it is a gathering (of educators). This gathering is indicative of any collaboration of work.”
She welcomed the keynote speaker, Jennifer Morrison, who had plenty of educational experience including being teacher of the year at Mid-Carolina High in 2009.
Morrison used an analogy of the wine process to compare with the efforts put forth by teachers.
“What strikes me the most is the diversity of the age and roles of teachers here,” said Morrison, “There are four different stages, from novice to retiree.”
“Great educators are like wine. They are carefully grown, fermented, bottled and then aged,” said Morrison.
Those that are still in school are like the grapes, Morrison explained.
These pre service candidates must have a clear conceptual orientation and meaningful field experience.
Morrison explained that the college and Newberry Middle have a partnership between one of the student teacher classes and the middle school.
She went on to explain that novices are like the fermenters and the bottles are like the practiced teachers. The retirees are like the aged wine.
Morrison also talked about what Newberry College has to offer and how their teaching paths are always improving.
In fact, Morrison says, “This coming semester, the largest class yet of 50 students, will happen.”
Student teaching was also elaborated on more.
“Having a student teacher could be one of the best experiences yet,” said Morrison, because teachers become “conscientiously conscious.”
“We are not in the business of making Kool-Aid at Newberry College,” said Morrison, “I welcome your support and participation. You are a part of the vision. One grape does not make a bottle of wine.”
Morrison said that the choosing of the winners was no small task of the committee. The winners will have their pictures lining the halls in the education building which is currently McClurg until they move to the Speers Street building which is in the works.
Morrison closed by telling all of the teachers, “We look to us to build the skills to build our youth and nation and to address the challenges.