NORTH SALT LAKE— It’s a chance to say thank you to the people who help shape the future.
Abundant Life Assembly of God in North Salt Lake showed their gratitude to some of Utah’s teachers with their recent Teacher Appreciation Banquet, held last Friday at the church. The event is designed to honor teachers who have had a powerful impact on the lives of the congregation’s youngest members.
“I know some of the students you teach, and you should have extra rewards,” said Pastor Alex Lucero. “You should have a day named after you. Thank you so much for investing in our kids.”
The teachers are nominated by congregation members who are high-school age and younger, though since there are only so many slots not everyone gets the opportunity. The students then make videos about what they like about their teachers, and come up onstage with them to receive the award the night of the banquet.
Lucero and other local leaders also spoke about what it means to be a teacher and the effect that teachers can have on others. Lucero told a story about the president of an ice cream company who was famous for its blueberry ice cream speaking to a group of teachers.
He was disparaging how they did their jobs, until one teacher pointed out that his company could choose only the best blueberries and reject the ones that didn’t meet their standards. Teachers, on the other hand, must take every student.
“What teachers do is unbelievable,” said Lucero. “You take students from this variety of circumstances, and you give them a chance. You take what you get, and what you do with them is just amazing.”
According to South Davis Jr. High teacher Russell Hutchings, one of the teachers honored at the recent banquet, watching that growth can be one of the greatest satisfactions a teacher has.
“I like seeing the kids grasp the material and each other,” he said. “I like seeing them succeed.”
According to North Salt Lake Mayor Len Arave, who also spoke at the event, that success can have an impact that reaches far beyond the classroom.
“I know you’re doing a lot to shape the future leaders that will lead this great country,” he said.
Other times, however, a teacher’s greatest impact is felt on a much more personal level. Laura Belnap, a member of the state school board, shared her memories of the teacher she said had the greatest impact on her life.
“I don’t know what she taught me in math, I don’t know what she taught me in reading, but I know she loved me,” she said.
Marilyn Badham, a first-grade teacher from Boulton Elementary who was also among the teachers who were honored, said that teachers can benefit from the same feeling.
“First graders love their teacher,” she said with a smile. “So I have 24 kids who love me.”