A tearful Jorine Silcox stood in shock Wednesday after she was announced the Troup County School System Teacher of the Year at an afternoon reception.
As family, co-workers and students came out to surprise her upon the announcement, she cried and hugged them one by one. Wiping her eyes as she stepped behind the podium, she thanked her co-workers and fellow teacher of the year finalists in a quivering voice.
I’m not from here originally and each and every teacher I have worked with or met, and principals and administration as well … they are all so wonderful,” Silcox said. “It’s just such an honor to be chosen for this and I never, ever in my life thought that this would happen. Thank you.”
Silcox, who teaches reading, language arts and writing in fifth grade at Franklin Forest Elementary School, was chosen as the system’s Teacher of the Year out of three finalists.
The other finalists were Jason Graham, a seventh grade social studies teacher at Long Cane Middle School, and Carol Cain, drama teacher at Troup High School. The finalists were selected out of 26 Teacher of the Year nominees, one for each elementary school and two for each middle and high school.
Before the winner was announced, administrators called out all of the Teacher of the Year nominees and congratulated them for their work.
“The purpose of the Teacher of the Year program is to recognize educators in system that set standard in excellence in teaching,” said Board of Education chairman Sheila Rowe. “This group of educators offer more than 380 years in combined experience in education.”
Jessica Holstun, Long Cane Elementary School media specialist and 2012 Teacher of the Year for the school system, said that serving as the Teacher of the Year for the school system has afforded her new opportunities, like serving on Leadership Troup, and speaking students interested in becoming teachers.
“To all the educators who are here, I want to say thank you for all that you do for the children of Troup County,” Holstun said. “To the teachers who are being honored here today, I want to say congratulations, especially to the three finalists, Mrs. Silcox, Mr. Graham and Mrs. Cain, congratulations and I know the honor is well deserved. It has been a remarkable experience to have served as the Troup County schools Teacher of the Year, and it has been one of the biggest callings of my teaching career so far.”
Holstun quoted William Yeats, who said “Education is not the filling of a pale, but the lighting of a fire.” She said Teacher of the Year nominees and finalists all light fires of knowledge in their students, and thanked them for their dedication.
Opal Hogg, representing the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce’s education committee, said the nominees represent the best teachers in Troup County.
“And for us, we think they’re the best in the nation,” Hogg said. “We’d put them up against (any teacher in) any subject in any state in any other school system in the United States. Their dedication and hard work every day to … allow every child to get a better quality education is amazing.”
Superintendent Cole Pugh also thanked the nominees for their dedication, noting the event is his annual favorite to participate in.
“Allow me to state what a privilege it is to work with such great teachers,” Pugh said. “We appreciate and applaud each of you for the tireless effort you make every day.”