Seniors give credit to influential teachers


Students know they can’t successfully navigate school without a lot of help from their friends.

And, sometimes, those friends can be teachers.

Yep, we’re talking about those people who assign homework with maniacal glee and call a student’s name every time they don’t know the answer to a question. Teachers can mean a lot more to students than just being the person who holds a student’s academic fate in their hands.

Teachers can be friends, mentors, guides, sounding boards. And, over time, many of them are just that.

So last week, it was time for members of the Person High School Class of 2019 to turn their attention away from themselves for a few minutes and shine a light on the teachers who made a difference in their lives.

The annual senior awards dinner was held Thursday night at Palace Pointe and the event gave the high school’s top academic qualifiers a chance to offer praise to their most influential teachers.

Students praised teachers for the way the teachers supported them. Others praised their favorite teacher for making the learning process fun. Others simply thanked teachers for showing an interest in their lives outside the classroom.

Some teachers proved really popular with their students. CTE teacher Penny Wright and English teacher Samanth Rieger were singled out by students six times. David Jones, another CTE teacher, was recognized by three of his students. French teacher Greg Turner and math teacher Allison Bowers were honored by four students each.

Students even recognized teachers who no longer teach in Person County, including former PHS band instructor Jonathan Chesson and Amanda Morrow, who now heads up the Person County Education Foundation.

Students invited to take part in Thursday night’s awards banquet included those who earned academic distinction as North Carolina Scholars or as Person County Scholars. To be named as a North Carolina Scholar, a student had to maintain an unweighted overall grade point average of 3.5 or higher throughout their high school career. Students who earned the Person County Scholar designation had to maintain an unweighted GPA between 3.00 and 3.49. There are 44 North Carolina Scholars in the Class of 2019 and 45 Person County Scholars.

Tim Pulliam, a reporter for Durham television station WTVD, and a Person High School graduate, addressed the crowd of about 300 people, that included teachers, school system adminstrators, students and their families. He stressed the importance of hard work as a means for achieving larger goals. Pulliam joined a growing list of former Person High School graduates who have addressed the audience at the annual event, which was established in 1984. Other speakers include former All-American and professional basketball player Wendy Palmer, current school board members Margaret Bradsher and Phillip Gillis and state legislators including Gordon Allen, Michael Wilkins and Winkie Wilkins.


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