Smart cookies get treated at school

Teacher, students recognized by Wilson County Schools

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STANTONSBURG — First-graders at Stantonsburg Elementary School enjoyed celebrating as Smart Cookies with Lane Mills, Wilson County Schools superintendent, in the school library last week.

Smart Cookies is a program of Wilson County Schools that recognizes the teacher of the year at each elementary school in the county by awarding the class with a cookie party and recognition for each student in the class.

Seventeen students in Hope Whitley’s class were served chocolate chip cookies provided by Chick-fil-A of Wilson. They drank from plastic champagne flutes, also provided by Chick-fil-A, that were filled with either lemonade or milk and sat at round tables, decorated with celebratory centerpieces. Each student also received a goody bag to take home.

“Some of the kids say this is the best day of school ever,” Mills said. “The kids love taking the cups home.”

Smiles and handshakes were exchanged among Mills, school board member Henry Mercer and the students in the class. Certificates were given to each student after each name was called by Mills. A few words about each student were announced from information given by their teacher.

Students were recognized individually for their attributes, such as “curious learner,” “loves to read stories” or “uses good expression when reading.”

Mills said the students are usually surprised that the information is right on target.

“It’s one of the highlights of my week when we do this,” Mills said.

Denise Taylor is the principal at Stantonsburg Elementary and was present at the celebration.

“I was thrilled about today’s event,” she said, “celebrating the kids’ success in reading, also honoring Mrs. Hope Whitley. She’s a positive force in our school and does a great job.”

This year marks Whitley’s third year at Stantonsburg Elementary. She was awarded the 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year award in the school and the district.

Awarded by the school system, the award honors one teacher in each school in the county.

Whitley enjoyed the celebration with her students.

“It was awesome,” she said. “It was just wonderful to see their joy as they were being recognized.”

She agrees that reading time with her students is a time when students can verbalize, and that’s where the learning takes place. Students make what they read funny sometimes even when the content is not that funny.

“These are great teachers,” Mills said. “It’s important for them to know we care.”

“There’s so much good going on, that thank you’s aren’t enough,” Mercer reiterated.

With some of the schools, Mills will co-teach for part of a day with the honoree, getting to know the students and what the teachers are doing in the classroom.

Stantonsburg’s Smart Cookies party was lighthearted with Mills and Mercer cutting up with the children and interacting during the party.