In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, the Dollarway School District and the Arkansas Department of Education presented teachers with awards for their dedication and commitment to student success on Wednesday.

Barbara Warren, Dollarway School District superintendent, surprised the recognized teachers who thought they were attending a meeting.

“They have no idea why they’re here today,” Warren said.

Meghan Gables, public information manager for the Arkansas Department of Education, stood before the group of teachers and informed them that they are being recognized as teachers that truly love their students.

“You do whatever it takes every day, you advocate for them, you fight for them, you go above and beyond for them to learn, you step out of your comfort zone and try new things in your classroom, and you encompass what we want our teachers to be here in Arkansas,” Gables said. “It’s nice to send an email, it’s nice to send a letter, but there’s nothing like telling someone ‘thank you’ face-to-face, so we’re here today.”

Gables said that they have been to 13 school districts since Monday celebrating teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week.

The school principals chose each celebrated teacher.

The teachers recognized in the Dollarway School District were Cynthia Walker (James Matthews Pre-K), Tammy Weeks (James Matthews 1st Grade), Dedrick Cross (Robert F. Morehead Middle School 8th Grade Social Studies/Coach), and Linda London Simmons (Dollarway High School English/Drama).

Comments were received about each of the teachers from their principals and students.

Walker’s principal said “she’s a team player. Her decisions may not always be the most popular, but they are ALWAYS decisions that keep what is best for children at the foundation.”

Week’s principal said, “Tammy has a big voice and she uses it to move student achievement forward to the next level. Her decisions are student-centered and she goes above and beyond the call of duty to make sure her colleagues have more than enough resources and support, even when the support is herself!”

Cross’s principal said, “Coach Cross works to teach his students that success comes in many ways. Most recently, his softball team played another school in another town. The game wasn’t working out in the Lady Cardinal’s favor. However, a PARENT from the other school called our central office just to say what an inspiration all of the girls had been to each other AND to their team. Even though they were losing, the girls were yelling for each other and encouraging them to keep trying, keep hustling. She went on to say how polite and gracious they had been to not only their own team members but to their opponent. Now that’s what I call a winner regardless of what the “score” says!”

Simmons’ principal said, “She does whatever it takes no matter what…no matter who…kids…teachers…everyone…every day. She’s always ready and willing.”

The students said, “Mrs. Simmons is just a ‘go to’ person even if she’s not your teacher.”