The Nelson County High School auditorium was filled with smiles and happy tears last week as the school not only recognized the top 10 percent of the class of 2019, but each student recognized a teacher they believed to be influential during their time as a student.
During the seventh annual Golden Governors Awards Banquet on April 25, 16 seniors were recognized for their academic achievement at Nelson County High School. Each teacher that was recognized by the 16 students also was given an award.
Shannon Irvin, assistant superintendent, said the banquet and award ceremony began because the school administration wanted to start recognizing students’ academic achievement.
“We realized we were doing a lot of things really well to recognize our athletes, our sports teams, our clubs and organizations. The thing that was missing was that we were not recognizing our top graduates,” Irvin said as she kicked off the award ceremony Thursday.
The 16 students each gave a quick speech about why they chose to nominate the teacher they did and the impact the teacher had on their lives as students, athletes, and overall individuals. Some teachers, like drama teacher Diana Driver and French teacher Meaghan Schray, received multiple nominations from students they positively influenced.
“They have chosen someone who has inspired them, but I want these young adults to know that they continue to inspire the educators that worked with them and make us want to be the best that we can be,” Janell Stinnett, principal of Nelson County High School, said to the approximately 100 guests filling the auditorium.
Before the awards were presented, everyone enjoyed a buffet of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and an array of desserts.
Kara Walker, human resources assistant, ran the show, but credits Irvin for its success.
“It was Ms. Irvin’s idea to start it and the school board agreed,” Walker said.
Many of the seniors honored on April 25 are headed off to college after graduation on May 24, some are joining the workforce, and one is taking a gap year.
Before wrapping up the award ceremony, Superintendent Martha Eagle thanked the students, staff, faculty, and family members who made the seventh annual Golden Governors Awards Banquet possible.
“I appreciate the students who have honored those staff members this evening. I appreciate the staff who have been honored,” Eagle said.