By Sarah Plummer
Raleigh County Schools honored a teacher who strives to inspire her children to live a healthy lifestyle Thursday evening at the 2012-13 Teach-er of the Year Recognition Program.
Angela Culicerto, a health and physical education teach-er at Park Middle School, was named Raleigh County Teacher of the Year and was among one of the finalists for state Teacher of the Year. Culicerto has been teaching in Raleigh County for 12 years.
“I know we cannot determine our destiny,” she said, “but I do know that maintaining a healthy body will increase our chances of living a long and healthy life. I want my passion to inspire my students to live a healthy life.”
Culicerto said she didn’t set out to be a teacher straight away, but instead it was inspiring words from a Raleigh County teacher that made her decide to delve into education.
“This honor means a lot to me, but I think it means everything for all the teachers in Raleigh County. It is great for our profession to be recognized like this,” she added.
County Superintendent James Brown also recognized the group of educators.
“The mere fact that your peers selected you to represent your school as their teacher of the year speaks volumes of who you are. Most importantly, you are making a difference every single day in the lives of the children you teach,” Brown said.
Brown also noted that research indicates teachers are the more important contributing factor to student learning.
“Without teachers in the classrooms, good things don’t happen for our students,” he said.
Keynote speaker for the event was 2013 West Virginia Teacher of the Year Mi-chael Funkhouser of Hardy County.
“It is a joyous thing we do, but it is not without its challenges,” Funkhouser shared.
“The freshmen who walk into room 114 each year in August are not the same animals who passed through that door 28 years ago. But the good news is that this group of young people today have the potential to be smart-er than we ever thought about being,” he said.
Liberty World Percussion, under the direction of Jeremy Rodriguez, provided entertainment. This group, which has been aweing crowds at Liberty High School football games, uses authentic African, Native American and Appalachian instruments to compose original performance pieces.
Raleigh County Teacher of the Year Finalists include Rebecca Hendrick, Daniels Elementary; Diana Chipley, Hollywood Elementary; Natalie Toney, Marsh Fork Elementary; Carla Gillespie, Maxwell Hill Elementary; and Katessa Begley, Trap Hill Middle.
For the 24th year, the Beckley Area Foundation presented Teacher of the Year Excellent Educator Awards to each of the finalists.
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