HOUSTON – Cathy Spencer, a history teacher at Houston High School, was named the 2013 Manny Davis Award winner at a teacher appreciation luncheon Thursday.
The annual event is hosted by the Chickasaw Development Foundation, complete with door prizes, cash gifts from local businesses and a noontime meal. The Manny Davis Award and the accompanying $500 donation are the highlight of the luncheon.
“I am so honored to get this award,” said Spencer. “I want to thank those who nominated me and I really do appreciate this. It is a big honor for me.”
E.E. “Manny” Davis acquired his wealth in the textile industry in Okolona and shared it with Chickasaw County, among other charitable pursuits. At the time of his death in 1997, Mr. Davis left specific instructions as to how his monies would be dispersed and one foundation he requested established was the Houston Separate School District Teacher Award Fund.
Each year, the E.E. “Manny” Davis Teacher Award is presented in the Houston School district to recognize an outstanding educator. Each school nominates one teacher per facility and an overall winner is selected for the district. Nominees are given a number and the selection committee picks the overall winner strictly on merit.
Nominees also receive a cash award.
Others nominated for the Manny Davis Award included:
• Marsha Rimmer, of Houston Lower Elementary School.
• Tonya Kirby, of Houston Upper Elementary School.
• Keith Jernigan, of Houston Middle School.
• Patricia Ellison, of Houston School of Science and Technology.
The overall goal of the luncheon is to bring the teachers and community together and thank teachers for their hard work.
“Schools are a key part of economic development in any community and teachers play a big role in the quality of our schools,” said CDF Executive Director Joyce East. “I want to thank the businesses and industry that allow us to host teacher appreciation day. I especially want to thank our teachers for what they do in the classroom each and every day.”
Houston and Chickasaw County Schools held a joint First-Day Orientation meeting that saw nationally recognized speaker and educator, Larry Bell, challenge teachers.
Bell is known for an innovative style of teaching that sparked disadvantaged and academically challenged students in schools just outside of Washington D.C to perform at high levels on state tests.
“Don’t tell me you you can’t reach and who you can’t teach,” said Bell. “Every child in your classroom can be made to perform through high expectations, inspiration and sound education.”
Okolona hosted their teacher appreciation luncheon Friday at Okolona High School. Teachers were treated to a meal and by Okolona Parents for Public Schools and Fresh Start School of Advanced Studies. Teachers were given a “Goody” bag and school calendars published by the Chickasaw Journal.