After a whirlwind of an end to the 2019-20 school year due to the coronavirus pandemic, teachers deserve to be honored more than ever.
The annual Teacher Appreciation Luncheon for teachers in Tallassee City Schools, Tallapoosa County Schools and Elmore County Schools is scheduled for 1 p.m. Aug. 8 at Beulah Baptist Church located at 5891 Lovelady Rd. in Dadeville.
The event is geared toward raising money to supply teachers and staff at area schools with the tools needed for a successful school year.
Last year teachers received cleaning and office supplies, printers, paper and almost every essential item needed to operate a classroom. Teachers who participate are asked to submit a wish list of needed supplies and local volunteers then reach out to area business for donations.
"We submit a wish list of five items and pretty much unless they can't find it, we pretty much get what we put on the wish list,” Reeltown Elementary School teacher Katrice Wright said.
There have been a few times event coordinators were not able to furnish items on a teacher's wish list.
"One teacher asked for a husband and a car," Wright said. "I always ask for scrapbooking supplies — things that I may not want to use the instructional supply money on but things that I wanted to have in the classroom to improve the learning experience."
The event began 10 years ago and quickly become widely attended by area teachers, superintendents and their supporters.
"We just love it," Wright said. "They show us so much love and appreciation. It makes us feel appreciated and valued. Sometimes we feel like people don't pay attention to us."
The appreciation luncheon relies heavily on local businesses that continually step up to fill the needs of area classrooms, but individuals are also encouraged to give donations.
"We get prizes, door prizes," Wright said. "People have got Whippoorwill (Vineyards) gift certificates, Wickle Pickles; one year a teacher got RayBan sunglasses."
The event originally focused on Reeltown teachers but because Reeltown High School is located in a rural district with few area businesses, it became difficult to locate enough sponsors until Dottie Carnes and others at Beulah Baptist Church reached out to neighboring communities for support. Last year more than 100 people attended the luncheon.
Carnes said the luncheon is for teachers but it ultimately serves the students.
"Dottie Carnes is so selfless,” Wright said. “She moves forward full steam ahead every year. And the hostess tables are beautiful each year. The students even join in and help with the luncheon. It's really special."
To donate to or sponsor the luncheon, call Beulah Baptist Church at 256-825-6515.