The cafetorium at Reeltown High School was filled with teachers, staff, and administrators from area schools Saturday afternoon for the 12th annual Teachers Appreciation Luncheon, which was hosted by Beulah Baptist Church in Dadeville.
Each year, Dorothy Carnes, along with a dedicated group of individuals, set out to equip teachers from area schools with the supplies for the upcoming school year.
"It is my pleasure that my people allowed me to do this again this year," Carnes said. "You don't know what a purpose this is for me, and how much I appreciate each of you that come and show your love and your support for the teachers."
The appreciation luncheon raised $11,000. This year, 97 donors, 33 benefactors, and many anonymous contributors and coordinators helped bring the luncheon to fruition. The ministry is also greatly supported by members of Beulah Baptist Church.
For the past 12 years, Carnes has dedicated much of her summer working to furnish teachers with the tools and supplies needed for the job at hand. However, the annual luncheon aims to provide more than material items. It is a show of appreciation to educators from area businesses and the community.
This year, 20 table hosts created artistically unique table displays. Youth from Beulah Baptist Church seated and served guests, and handed out door prizes and gifts to teachers at the luncheon.
Beulah Baptist's Pastor Tim Davis lead the opening and closing prayer, and he also helped Carnes deliver door prizes to teachers.
Todd Flurry delivered a music presentation.
This year's speaker was Sharon Moore, with Save a Life of Tallapoosa County. Moore began volunteering at the organization in 1992 and became the director in 1995.
Moore explained how important and appreciated teachers really are.
"You are called," Moore said. "Teaching is a gift from God. You are giving. You are caring. You are loved. You are appreciated. You are underpaid. You are cherished. You are passionate. You are certainly my hero. You are an encourager. You are a teacher."
Moore also reminded educators of their importance in a child's life.
"You have the privilege of changing the lives of your students. You may be the only person that shows them any kind of love and support throughout their entire life. It's up to you. They need your love. They need your encouragement. So, stay the course. Fight the good fight. Run the race. Do not give up. You can and do make a difference because you are a teacher," Moore said.
While this luncheon benefits educators from several schools including Tallassee, Dadeville, and Eclectic, it was originally created for the teachers in the Reeltown community and has grown into a fundraiser for teachers areawide. This year, the mission has continued to expand and will now serve even more teachers in the state.
"With God's blessing, we are going to be able to do another one of these in November for Horseshoe Bend," Carnes said. "I don't know if it will be this large with this magnitude, but I am going to give it 100 percent."
According to Carnes, support for the Horseshoe Bend Teachers Appreciation Luncheon has already begun pouring in.
"Some of the teachers that know about this have already come to me and ask, 'Mrs. Dottie, you won't let us do a table at our luncheon, can we do one for Horseshoe Bend?' So, I think we are going to have people fighting to get to do a table for that one," she said.