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Teachers, staff honored on last day of school

by Mike Eckels/Special to the Westside Eagle Observer | June 6, 2023 at 8:30 a.m.
Mike Eckels/Special to the Eagle Observer Four classified and certified staff members and teachers were presented with classified/certified staff of the year awards during the end of the 2022-23 school year catfish fry in the cafeteria at Decatur High School on May 25. Teachers and staff members receiving the awards included Gina Holt (left), Jose Lucio, Samantha Beck and Courtney Pearson.

DECATUR -- May 25 was a day of both celebration and sadness as students, faculty, staff, and coaches hurried to finish up any last-minute details by the 1 o'clock hour before the books were closed, ending the 2022-2023 school year in Decatur.

While many students began their summer vacation celebration a little early, others were saying goodbye to friends and beloved teachers before heading home for the next two and a half months.

Since the district met the required number of school days this year, the final five hours of 2022-23 were a shortened work day.

At Peterson-Owens Fieldhouse, high school basketball, soccer, and volleyball athletes gathered together to get a little last-minute practice before the final bell rang.

Soon the first buses from Northside Elementary began arriving to pick up middle and high school students. Then, at 3:10 p.m., the bell sounded for the final time, ending the monumental 2022-2023 school year.

Back at Peterson-Owens, the sounds of bouncing balls hitting backboards and joyous laughter that had filled the air only moments before stopped and an eerie quiet befell the gym as the last student left the building to catch the bus or whatever conveyances awaited to take them home. But the day was not quite finished for the teachers, staff, and volunteers of the Decatur School District.

A wonderful catfish fry, complete with all the trimmings, awaited them in the high school cafeteria for the end-of-the-school-year luncheon and awards ceremony. This was the final time for the 2022-2023 groups from Decatur Pre-School, Northside Elementary, Decatur Middle and High Schools to come together.

Some teachers would be moving on to other districts; some would be moving around within the district, while others like Joyce Turnage, who has been teaching in Decatur for 17 years, packed up their memories and retired.

After the meal, Steven Watkins, Decatur superintendent of schools, thanked the teachers, staff and volunteers for making this school year a memorable one. After his farewell address, Watkins presented the classified and certified teacher and staff of the year awards for the elementary and secondary schools.

The winners of these awards were picked by their fellow teachers and staff members. Winners of this year's awards included certified staff of the year Courtney Pearson of Northside Elementary, Samantha Beck of Decatur Middle School, Pam Sim of Decatur High School, and classified staff of the year Imelda Marshall of Northside Elementary, Jose Lucio of Decatur Middle School and Gina Holt of Decatur High School.

With the conclusion of the awards presentation, the school year came to a close and district personnel were told to have a great summer.

Print Headline: Teachers, staff honored on last day of school


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