The New Teachers' Luncheon was held this past Friday at the seminar room located in the Center at the TSTC (Texas State Technical College) West Texas campus in Sweetwater. The event was hosted by the Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce.
Gil Cherry, the president of the Chamber Board, expressed his pride in the annual luncheon. As the future of the nation is based upon the education of children, he applauded the sacrifices, selflessness and courage of the incoming teachers.
Cherry also introduced members of the Chamber Board who were at the luncheon--Terry Pittman, Jeff Howard, Zollie Steakley, and Stacy Dove, along with the present Chamber staff members Leah Andrews and Cynthia Delgado.
Twenty-five teachers within SISD (Sweetwater Independent School District) and TSTC were then introduced. Sweetwater High School (SHS) will be welcoming Martha Aleman, Kellie Kiker, Teri Moses Kirby and Scott Sloan to their campus.
The new teachers at SMS (Sweetwater Middle School) include Dane Bennett, Kayla Brashears, Tiffany Rawlings, Tracy Rickerson and Jamie Smith. Sweetwater Intermediate School (SIS) will see four new teachers at the school--Chrystal Brooks, Clark Harrell, Shara Sloan and Steven Withrow.
Joining the staff at East Ridge Elementary will be Brittany Bouton, Marina Rainwater, Kristen Simpson, Emerald Smith and Melissa Yeakle. Carly Bill and Kimberly Jones will be the new teachers at Southeast Elementary.
At J.P. Cowen, Elizabeth Jones, Dennise Upshaw and Jeanie Bohall will be the new teachers on campus. Rounding out the new teachers with SISD is Ashley Pape, who will serve as a speech therapist through WCTSSA (West Central Texas Shared Service Arrangement).
TSTC is welcoming one new teacher to their campus this year, their new welding instructor Steven Stratchko.
The sponsors who introduced the new teachers were Team Chip Tae Kwon Do, County-City Library, First Financial Bank, Lone Star Ag Credit, Bennett and Associates, Zollie Steakley, Texas National Bank, Emmanuel Fellowship Church, First Financial Trust, State Farm - Richard Fergeson, Creative Graphic Solutions, Sweetwater Reporter, Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital, TSTC, Tom Henderson, Lita McEachern, Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development (SEED), Roscoe State Bank, and Buzzi Unicem.
Also introduced at the luncheon were local administrators. Sweetwater ISD Superintendent Terry Pittman welcomed the two board members who attended the luncheon, Russ Petty and Leah Andrews. SISD administrators who were at the event were Kathy Smartt, Janell Jones, and Scarlett Whitteker, along with campus principals Stacy Jones, Tecka Mobley, Jeff Withrow, Danette Price, Kirk Stroman, Vicki Mayberry, Peggy Elliott and Crystal Meneses.
Pittman briefly shared this year's theme for the school year, "Sweetwater Strong". Through the collaborative efforts of the school district and the community, the goal of working together for local children can be attained.
Kathleen Butler, the vice president of student development at TSTC, also offered a few remarks. The Sweetwater campus is seeing enrollment growth and is excited about their continued partnership with SISD on dual credit courses.
A thank you was expressed to McVey Nursery for donating the plants at the luncheon, which were given to the teachers. Door prizes were also awarded to Martha Aleman, Kellie Kiker and Teri Moses Kirby.
Additional appreciation was given to Lita McEachern for all of her help, as well as the various businesses who donated items to the teacher goodie bags: State Farm - Richard Fergeson, Lone Star Ag Credit, Stanley Ford, Lindsey Reyes LMT, Texas National Bank, Buzzi Unicem, SEED, Schlotzsky's, Advantage Office Supplies, First Financial Bank, Security Finance, TSTC, Team Chip Tae Kwon Do, Zollie Steakley, and Roscoe State Bank.
Cherry concluded the luncheon by reading a quote by Ken Blanchard included on the program: "Your role as a leader is even more important than you might imagine. You have the power to help people become winners." He stressed to the audience, notably the new teachers, that their work and abilities can be used to impact the lives of their students as the new school year begins.