KyJuan Elam, a senior at Longview Early Graduation High School, would not be in school without the guidance of his principal, Kristi Means.
“I owe her that,” he wrote in his essay nominating Means for the 2019 Lamplighter Awards.
The ceremony, held Thursday at Pinecrest Country Club, honored 14 educators nominated by students on each of Longview ISD’s campuses.
The event, put together by the Longview ISD Foundation, read students essay’s nominating educators and presented the student and teacher with an award.
Means listened to the essay with a smile on her face as Elam described his trust in her.
“I am a very private person, so I won’t tell anything about myself to anyone unless I really trust that person,” he read in his essay at the event. “I trust Mrs. Means 100 percent.”
Mixie Gallant, a fifth-grader at Johnston-McQueen Elementary School, nominated Patty Daniel, former assistant cafeteria manager, partly because she is retiring.
Gallant wrote she also wanted to nominate Daniel because she is “loving, kind and encouraging.”
“Mrs. Patty has served students at Johnston-McQueen for so long, and it is her turn to be served,” Gallant wrote in her essay, which garnered a collective “awe” from the audience.
Mary Claire Hilton, a fifth-grader at Hudson PEP Elementary School, was invited to read her essay nominating Alison Campbell, fourth-grade teacher at Hudson PEP.
Her reading caused the room to echo with laughter as she started with describing just how terrified she was to enter Campbell’s classroom and described her as a strict, sarcastic teacher with a forgiving heart.
“Mrs. Campbell isn’t just my favorite teacher; she is the teacher who has made me feel like I am being called to change others,” Hilton read from her essay.
Hilton said Campbell pushing her “as hard as an angry farmer pushes a lazy donkey” until she figured out how to write is what led her to get high State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness scores.
Madalynn Maddox, an eighth-grade student at Foster Middle School, honored her theater arts teacher, Kayleigh Mayhall. Maddox was another student invited to read her essay at the event.
In Madalynn’s essay, she wrote that Mayhall inspires her to pursue acting and put her mind to her goals.
“I will be sad to leave Ms. Mayhall, but one day when I make it big, I won’t forget about her,” she said. “She is the reason that I am chasing my dream, and I hope wherever life takes me, I won’t forget about how much she helped me, not only in theater, but in my life.”
The foundation also presented Chuck King, owner of Chick-fil-A, with the 2019 Cornerstone Award. Additionally, it honored Kay Ray, executive director of the foundation, with a crystal bowl for her 25 years of service.