“I believe we are going to have an awesome year working and learning together.” That’s a proclamation from Franklin County School’s current Teacher of the Year (TOY) Katrina Ham, one of our great elementary teachers. Ham, who teaches third grade, says her school year “has started off wonderfully” and she is “enjoying each day. Of course some days I am faced with challenges, but the reward of their smiling faces and the ‘aha’ moments are truly worth it all.”
This summer, Ham attended the annual Teacher Of the Year conference at the Disney Boardwalk Resort in Orlando. She says “the experience was truly amazing. I felt like a queen the whole time I was there.” During the gala event of the conference, the TOYs from all over the state were honored by two of Florida’s leaders, Governor Rick Scott and the Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart.
The conference also afforded Ham the opportunity to participate in leadership trainings where she learned new strategies to implement in her classroom. According to this Seahawk employee, the conference’s theme was “LEAD” and being so inspired by all that she saw and heard, using her ingenuity, Ham created an acronym to capture the experience she received from the conference. L - Lift up one another (collaborate, teamwork), E - Encourage, embrace, endure, and most importantly, enjoy; A - Act positively; D - Deepen knowledge (we are lifelong learners). Ham also adds that “we have to truly learn to work with each other and learn from each other if ‘we’ want things to improve and work effectively.”
Katrina Ham is but one of the dedicated faculty and staff members who work on the Seahawk campus Mondays through Fridays (and sometimes we ‘volunteer’ nights and weekends, too.) Although only two weeks into the school year, valuable learning opportunities are made available for all Seahawks all over the campus and the Seahawk family is taking advantage of them all. For Ham’s third graders, one important lesson the class of 20 has learned is that “everyone makes mistakes and nobody is perfect. We just need to learn from our mistakes and keep moving forward.” Ham has a passion for teaching and really enjoys working with, and nurturing her students, helping them soar, for as she further added “we are like a family.”
“Practice. Practice. Practice.” That’s the mantra of the Marching Seahawk Band, or as the football announcer dubbed them “The Crimson BoomBox.” Under the direction of veteran bandmaster Karl Lester, the students that dedicate a great deal of their school days and evenings (and sometimes nights) to bringing the musical element to Seahawk Friday Night Lights, have been working very hard since the summer preparing for their halftime show during the football season.
This year, the music comes from the 70s, an era that produced some amazing music. Beginning this Friday, Sept. 5, and every home game after that , please support the Crimson BoomBox and come out to the Mikel Clark football stadium for the football game and when you have that break from cheering on the team (halftime), prepare to do a little toe-tapping, hand-clapping, head-bobbing, and dancing-in-the-stands to the sounds of your favorite tunes of that decade. Their selections cover many genres, from rhythm & blues to rock to pop, and if you are a ‘70s music aficionado, I’m sure we’ll hear you and many others adding the lyrics to the band’s instrumental version and loudly singing the words during their halftime performance. Your enthusiastic support will be totally appreciated by the band, I’m sure.
That’s it for this week. Until next week, keep soaring.
A longtime classroom teacher in the Franklin County Schools, Elinor Mount-Simmons was a regular columnist for the Times for many years.