Woodward, Okla. —
PRESENTATION OF HONORARY DIPLOMA
The school board also took time during their meeting Monday to honor local World War II veteran Elden Damron.
Damron, who served both in France and Okinawa, was presented with an honorary high school diploma.
Merchant explained that due to a law passed in the early 2000s, veterans serving in World War II who missed their opportunity to obtain a high school diploma due to their service would be allowed to receive one now.
"What an honor it is to present you with this," the superintendent said as he presented Damron with the diploma. "I'm happy our legislators were wise enough to see these guys and gals who served our country were deserving, and we're proud to be able to do this for you after all you've done for us."
Damron expressed gratitude saying, "Thank you. I really appreciate this."
TEACHER OF THE YEAR CANDIDATES RECOGNIZED
Also recognized at the school board meeting were the 2013 Teacher of the Year candidates, who were asked to share a little bit about themselves.
Woodward Middle School 8th Grade American History teacher Chelsea Roberts said, "This is my second year as a teacher in Woodward so I can't tell you how honored I am to be nominated for the teacher of the year."
Roberts said her drive to teach was spreading her love of history and politics to her students.
"When my students tell me they watched the news last night, I consider that a win," she said.
2nd Grade Horace Mann Elementary teacher Neagle put it simply, "Teaching is what I was born to do."
Neagle explained that during the time she'd taken off to care for her sick daughter Zayne after her birth, Neagle realized just how much she loved teaching. Neagle said that while she wouldn't trade that time with her daughter for anything, she became certain that teaching was her passion.
Neagle expressed her gratitude to be able to teach in the Woodward community, saying, "I feel so blessed to be in Woodward. The community has just taken in my family and I, and I'm so grateful."
Pre-kindergarten teacher at Woodward's ECC Monica Hodgden expressed her gratitude for being nominated as well as her love for teaching young students.
Hodgden said she loved hearing parents come up and tell her that their children were playing school at home and were acting just like her.
"The little ones just seem to love you so much," said Hodgden about her students.
8th Grade Math teacher Abbie Wasson explained her favorite part of the job, saying, "I'm a big math geek, my students always come back and tell me that, but that's okay because I know they understand the subject. And when they get it, and you see that lightbulb go on, that's just fantastic."
High School English Teacher Michelle McDonald as well as High School Science Teacher Chanda Peters were unable to attend the meeting, but sent their gratitude for being nominated for the Teacher of the Year award.