Pre-kindergarten teacher Hillary Chastain receives her free meal from Larry Christman at the Lunch Bus for Teacher Appreciation Week.The group presenting the charity quilt included (floor, from left) Terry Baird, Kim Peters, Karen Hopple, Maureen Ripper. Holding quilt are (from left) Gayle Cowdin, Janelle Warren, David Vowell, Joanna Marren. Back row are (from left) Randy Chase, Sue Leonard, Debra Vanderlaan, Denise Cornett, David Vanderlaan, Barbara Haydon, Marilyn Ogden, Brisbane Smith, Patty Singer, Judy Greenstone, and Peggy Tanger.

SCOUTING AROUND: Schools show appreciation for teachers

   Carrie Ledford feels valued every day she walks in the door at Martins Creek Elementary/Middle School. She said the community, faculty and administration are all very supportive.
    During Teacher Appreciation Week, she said they are always well-taken care of, but on May 9 she and 38 other teachers were surprised with a meal from The Lunch Bus provided by the school’s Parent Teacher Organization.
    “To be treated to a food truck here in Martins Creek is very special,” said Ledford, a kindergarten teacher. She added that when you work in Martins Creek, it’s not easy to go out for lunch.
    The school had different surprises each day of the week for teachers, assistant principal Jennifer Lugiewicz said.
    “Each and every person here at MCS is a tremendously important part of the MCS family,” Lugiewicz said. “They inspire our students to achieve more than ever before, all while demonstrating a true passion for teaching and learning.”
    Aerian Rayburn, an assistant pre-kindergarten teacher, was appreciative of the PTO for providing lunch.
    “It’s really nice and very, very sweet of them,” she said.
    Although they have no connection to the school itself, the owners of The Lunch Bus – Lisa (Chef Sway) and Larry Christman – were happy to support the teachers. Lisa once worked in the Palm Beach (Fla.) School District, and local residents have been supportive of their business.
    “This is one way to give back,” Christman said. “We know they are underpaid and have a lot of challenges right now.”
    Most schools celebrated their teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week. However, one Cherokee County school extended the celebration throughout the month.
    Andrews Middle School Principal Julie Higdon said the school celebrated teachers all month with special lunches, professional massages and other activities. “I feel teachers should be honored every day,” she added.
    On May 9, Higdon’s students got to show their appreciation by dressing up as their favorite teacher. Several students said it was hard to choose just one teacher as their favorite.
    “All the teachers say they love us, and I know it’s true,” Zander White said. “All of them have helped me through rough times.”
    He and fellow sixth-grader Emily Beauford dressed up as STEM teacher John Worden. Beauford was excited to see that she and Worden were both wearing a blue button-down shirt with a black T-shirt underneath since they didn’t plan their outfits.
    She said Worden is known for wearing button-down shirts over a T-shirt, jeans and Converse sneakers. He is her favorite because of how he teaches.
    “He always tries to encourage me,” Beauford said. “My life is so hard sometimes. … When I’m in his class, I’m just relaxed.”
    She said he also has taught her to use tools she never used before, like a sander and drill.
    Many students dressed up as physical education teacher Brittany Rowland. Kylie Donaldson, a fifth-grade student, said even though Rowland is her favorite teacher because she lets them play games and go outside, the way she dresses made the decision easier between her and other teachers.
    “All she does is dress sporty, and that’s what I do,” Donaldson said.
    Students said they didn’t think dressing up as their teachers was enough to show how much they appreciate them.
    “I call them heroes,” Beauford said. “Teachers are there for you in the biggest situations. I want to thank all the teachers in the world.”

Quilt donated to arts council
    Each year, the Modern Quilt Guild challenges member guilds to create a charity quilt for QuiltCon, then donates the quilt to the charity of their choice. For the 2018 convention, the Southern Appalachian Modern Quilt Guild created “Sunshine Daze” to fit the Modern Traditionalism theme for the event.
    The quilt was on display during the convention in Pasadena, Calif., in February, then donated to the Cherokee County Arts Council on Thursday.
    “I’m super thrilled because I think quilting in itself is an art,” said Janelle Warren, the local guild’s co-vice president.
    The quilt features three bright flowers, representing the three states members are from, on a white background that represents rail fences. About 23 members of the local guild worked on the quilt over five months, each taking home a few fabrics to piece together. The quilt was designed by Warren and Randy Chase, while the crystalline grande quilting was done by Denise Cornett.
    David Vowell, director of the Cherokee County Arts Council, said the quilt will be on display in the Cultural Calendar Room of the Murphy Art Center throughout the rest of May. While accepting the quilt, he would like to plan a quilts-only exhibit featuring the work of the Valley River Arts Guild at the MAC in the near future.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.