Nov. 19, 2004 As American Education Week drew to a close, the Education Department honored one educator as the St. Thomas-St. John Teacher of the Year in an appreciation luncheon at the Curriculum Center Friday.
Cecilia Fahie-Barry, a Charlotte Amalie High School social studies and history teacher, received the distinguished award, among 14 participants from 10 schools in the district who had applied.
Barry and the other finalists and participants gathered in the conference room of the Curriculum Center, which had been transformed for the luncheon in their honor.
William Frett, St. Thomas-St. John superintendent of schools and coordinator of the event, thanked the teachers for their willingness to participate in the program.
"Sometimes we do not let individuals know how valued they are," Frett said. "I think it is important to let all employees know their value."
Frett said there were several marks of a "great teacher," including the ability to make students feel special, to teach students how to learn and to inspire others with their passion. Frett told the educators they exemplified these qualities.
Education Commissioner Noreen Michael gave a toast in honor of the teachers.
"I salute you today and celebrate your everyday efforts," Michael said. "You continue to raise the bar for others that follow and those of your colleagues you interact with every day."
Several students also paid tribute to the educators through poems, songs and other expressions of appreciation. Some principals also bestowed gifts on their staff.
Barry, in accepting her award, read a poem entitled "Thank you to Teachers." She said the poem had been selected by a student in her class, who wanted her to read it at the luncheon.
"As I accept the role of being District Teacher of the Year, I will give it my best," Barry said, adding she was honored to be given the title.
Barry said she would continue sharing her knowledge with her students and learning from them in the process.
The finalists for the award were Lisa Etre, Ivanna Eudora Kean High School; Leayle Robinson, Kean High; Edney L. Freeman, CAHS; Linda Freeman, Joseph Gomez Elementary School; and Anita Holder, Jane E. Tuitt Elementary School.
The other participants were Vivian Vanterpool, Addelita Cancryn Junior High School; Malvern Gumbs, Leonard Dober Elementary School; Geraldine Classen, Gomez School; Vincent Henley, Michael J. Kirwan Elementary School; Thecla Jurgen-Hanley, E. Benjamin Oliver Elementary School; Mary Lauffer, Joseph Sibilly Elementary School; Joycelyn Isaac, Sibilly Elementary; and Jasmine Simeon-Pratt, Raphael O. Wheatley Skill Center.
The District Teacher of the Year Award is given annually to a teacher in each district. One teacher is also chosen as the State Teacher of the Year. That teacher represents the territory in several American Federation of Teachers functions and also gets to visit the president at the White House. This year's State Teacher of the year for the territory is Reginia Williams.
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