HED:Students honor teachers who influenced career decisions

By Monique Harrison

Daily Journal

Pierce Street Elementary second-grade teacher Janice Anthony didn't want to cry Friday as her daughter honored her during a noon lunch at the Hancock Leadership Center.

But despite her resolve, the tears began flowing before the first word of daughter Amy Littrell's tribute was spoken.

"She didn't really tell me much about it," Anthony said of the Tupelo High School Future Educators of America Inspiration Teachers Luncheon. "She just told me to be here ... in all my experiences teaching, this is one of the most rewarding - to think my daughter has decided to follow in my footsteps. I always thought she thought I was crazy for being a teacher."

Littrell, a THS senior, was one of 18 FEA members who participated in the luncheon. Students were asked to select and honor the teacher who inspired them to consider a career in education.

FEA is an organization designed to give high school students an opportunity to learn more about the education field. Students also are encouraged to teach in Mississippi.

Littrell has never been assigned to her mother's class, but still said she has learned a great deal about teaching from her, particularly by visiting her classes and helping her with projects during the summer.

FEA members said the teachers they selected exemplified a number of desirable qualities.

Student Jason Miller praised baseball coach Larry Harmon for emphasizing values.

"Coach Harmon has taught me values that will last a lifetime," Miller said. "The main thing I've learned from him is to not give up. He has two quotes that have stayed with me since the ninth grade: 'There is no "I" in "team" and 'The journey of 1,000 miles starts with one step.'"

FEA president Angie King also was moved to tears during her tribute to Tupelo Middle School eighth-grade English teacher Jennifer Robinson.

"I cried up there because I was thinking about how eighth grade was the worst year of my life," she said. "I thought about how she was so important to me."

She said one of Robinson's greatest contributions was not academic.

"One of the major problems I faced in eighth-grade was feeling that I didn't fit in," she said. "It was a transition period. She kept telling me I was a nice girl and that I would end up being just fine. I really think she knew what I was going through. And I knew she cared."

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