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Top teacher has ‘a love of children and of learning’

Hundreds gathered at the World of Sports on Thursday night to recognize Halifax County Public School System employees during the first staff appreciation celebration.

Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon presented the most prestigious award of the night, Teacher of the Year, to an individual who was described as having “a love of children and of learning.”

After teaching for 31 years, Barbara A. Haven was named “Teacher of the Year” Thursday night.

Haven, a fourth grade teacher at South Boston Elementary School, proudly boasts she loves her job.

“It’s such a pleasure to be recognized,” said Haven.

When her name was called she admitted she was “shocked and surprised.”

Haven received her undergraduate degree in elementary education at Averett University and a master’s at Lynchburg in special education and said she has always known she was going to be a teacher.

“I just love working with the kids,” she added.

“I can remember being little and thinking I was going to be a teacher. I’ve just always known I was going to be a teacher,” said Haven.

As Haven proudly looked at her plaque presented by Herndon and school board members, the veteran teacher said her first telephone call was going to be to her parents.

“They spent a lot of money on college,” said Haven who wanted to let them know it was worth it.

Her South Boston Elementary co-workers and principals congratulated her telling her how much she deserved the recognition.

The fourth grade teacher said she plans to keep on teaching and has no plans of hanging up her teaching hat anytime soon.

“I love my job very much,” added Haven.

In addition to announcing the Teacher of the Year, Herndon also recognized school employees with a certificate for service of more than 20 years. 

Those who have served for 20-24 years included Eula Adams, Virginia Aherron, Delano Akers, Kim Albert, Gayle Anderson, Darlene Bain, Nancy Barbour, Marliss Healy Barczak, Debbi Bowen, Susie Brown, Vernal Bruce, Grant Tyler Carey, Anne Carr, Sandra Martin Cash, Barbara Martin Clark, William Clark, Loran Hardy Clark, Lori Cole, Deborah Coles, Deborah Crews, Jana Daniel, Barbara Davis, Kelvin Davis, Patricia Davis, Moira Dempsey, Hallie Edmunds Dismuke, Kay Duffer, Janet Dunn, Robert Dunn, Phyllis Epps, Nancy Eldreth, Barbara Fallen, Delois Farrar, Annette Ferguson, Robert Fitzgerald III, Elizabeth Fowlkes, Sheila Garmon, Bridget Tune Garrett, Diane Greene, Gayle Guthrie, Janice Hairston, Sandy Harris, Sheila Henderson, Lisa Howell, Claudia Irby, Sharon Jennings, Shirley Jordan, Vickie Loftis, Carolyn Leigh Logan, Brenda Lowery, Helen Martin, Donna McCann, Valerie McCraw, Jerry Wayne Medley Sr., Sherry Medley, Anne Garner Meeks, Jane Moore, Kevin Neal, Sandra Oakes, Ista Palmer, Deborah Patrick, Kathy Reagan, Jennifer Oakes Redd, Franceen Crews Roman, Margaret Ruffino, Marita Saunders, Susan Scearce, Debbie Shotwell, Teri Simmons, Connie Slagle, Lanette Doss Spencer, Shela Stevens, Michael Stovall, Ann Marie Thackston, Norma Thaxton, Gladys McCargo Townsend, Jane Tribble, Constance Troy, Yvonne Vaden, Hannah Vaughan, Mitzi Waller, Angelina Wiley, Michael Wilkerson, Rosetta Williams, Jo Ann Wilmouth, Joyce Winfield-Reeves, Estelle Wynn and Nancy Zirkle.

Those who have served for 25-29 years included Susan Bagbey, Benita Bagwell, Marsha Barker, Brenda Beadles, Helen Booze, Cynthia Camp, Martha Chandler, Regina Claiborne-Johnson, Cynthia Clauden, Brenda Claughton, Linda Clay, Gloria Coles, Sherry Cowan, Charla Faulkner Crews, Mary Douglas, Jeffrey Edmonds, Donna Elliott, Amos Farrar, Denise Ferrell, Jane Fisher, Marcia Gravitt, Shelby Gravitt, Mary Marie Hamlett, Donna Loftis Hastings, Janet Johnson, Nannie May Jones, Eleanor Knowlson, Kelvin Lacks, Pamela Lane, Donna Lawter, Nancy Little, Lisa Morris Long, Linda Maitland, Jonathan Medley, Jennifer Moore, Mary Beth Moore, Agnes Fisher Morris, Sue Sweet Pearce, Mildred Petty, Daphne Popek, Vivian Lee Puryear, Gwendolyn Ragland, Mary Ann Reagan, Donna Rice, Linda Scott, Libby Slagle, Sandy Slayton, Karen Shelton Smith, Mary Vicks Smith, Gladys Stovall, Donna Terry, Susan Thomasson, Jeannie Toombs, Charlotte Ann Trent, Barbara Wade, Donna Wilkins, Juanna Wilkins, Patricia Wilmouth and Stanley Wylie.

Those who have served for 30-34 years, 35-39 years, 40-45 years were called by name to come forward. 

One employee, Sallie Samuel, was recognized for her 47 years of service as a bus driver with the school system.

The 2012-2013 retirees also were recognized including Joan Bowers, Sylvia Briggs-Judkins, Eileen Centuolo, Kenneth Cochran, Patsy Cole, John Courtney, Carol Crawley, Jane Fisher, Virginia Fisher, Deborah Griles, Calvin Hughes, Joyce Lowery, Jane Moore, Nancy Moorefield, Ista Palmer, Kathleen Parker, Guereva Sutphin, Amy Throckmorton and DeLouis Wilkins.

Prior to the start of the evening, Executive Director for Administration Valdivia Marshall gave opening remarks and welcomed everyone to the first annual staff appreciation celebration “where we can shine the spotlight on individual players on our team.”

School Board Chairman Kimberly Farson also offered remarks.

“We’re thankful for your hard work and compassion. Each employee has an essential role in the school system,” Farson said inviting everyone to relax, fellowship and laugh during the evening.

Door prizes were presented throughout the evening, and participants enjoyed a catered dinner provided by Four Oaks restaurant.