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Future educators recognized at signing day
ga future educators
(L to R) Jacalyn Elrod, Evie Ulery, Connor Bearden, Calli Watson, Rob Cox, Kaylee Pirkle, Micaiah Jenkins and Cadey Ayers were recognized during Teacher Appreciation Week with a Georgia Future Educator Signing Day where they signed certificates and were celebrated for their commitment to becoming future educators. - photo by Jessica Taylor

Seniors at Dawson County High School were recognized during Teacher Appreciation Week for their commitment to future careers as educators.

The school hosted a Georgia Future Educator Signing Day, a state-wide initiative sanctioned and recognized by the Georgia Department of Education, to celebrate the 11 students planning to become teachers. They signed certificates in similar fashion to scholarship signings on May 8.

“We’re really proud of you guys because you have such a valuable career ahead of you and you’re going to make your impact on everybody,” said Work-Based Learning Coordinator Dianne Mayfield at the signing. “Don’t ever forget what an awesome responsibility you’ll have in front of you because you’re dealing with people’s lives and you – each and every one of you – will touch lives as you go forward with your future educator degrees.”

Cadey Ayers, Jacalyn Elrod, Carley Burt, Micaiah Jenkins, Shae Perez, Kaylee Pirkle, Calli Watson and Emily Rodriguez will be pursuing degrees in Early Childhood Education while Connor Bearden and Evie Ulery will pursue degrees in Secondary Education with an emphasis on history. Rob Cox will be pursuing his degree in Agriculture Education.

Many of the students that were recognized at the signing have participated in work-based learning and internships and completed their education pathway. All have expressed their desire to enter the education field and are enrolled in various colleges in the fall.

“The future is so bright for you, but the future is bright for the kids in Dawson County or wherever you end up in your life because I’ll tell you it’s probably one of the hardest jobs that there is but it is also one of the most rewarding,” said Mayfield.

Also offering words of encouragement were teacher Lori Grant and school counselors Kate Jarrard and Cherie Ferguson.

Grant, who had taught many of those signing, told the future educators to remember their favorite teachers growing up and what they did to create a lasting effect.

“Be that for those kids because you’ll make such an impact,” Grant said.

Jarrard said she loved to see two young men strive to be educators and said she knew they would impact their future students the same way their male teachers impacted them.

“You know that your teachers and coaches have had such a huge impact on you and why you’re going into education,” Jarrard said.

Ferguson said she wanted to be a teacher since she was five years old, but her father asked her why she wanted to be a teacher because the pay was terrible.

She said she wanted to remind the young men and women gathered in the Learning Commons that being a teacher is more than just a paycheck.

“It’s not about the pay. It’s about your heart and the money will come or you will figure it out so I’m proud of y’all,” Ferguson said. “Don’t let something like that stop you from your dreams and loving kids.”