Bankhead Middle School was presented a $10,000 check Tuesday in honor of Donna King, who recently won Green Mountain Naturals “Apple for a Teacher” contest.
King, a special education teacher, was nominated for the award by her friend and fellow church member Betty Hoffman. A panel of judges selected her for the top five out of hundreds of entries, and the winner was chosen by Facebook voting.
King said she was humbled when she read Hoffman’s submission.
“That’s the person that I aspire to be, but I’m not always. I fall short. But you know what, it’s not about falling down. It’s about getting up one more time than you fall down, and it’ll be good,” King said in her acceptance speech.
Hoffman said King was the first person who came to mind when she read about the “Apple for a Teacher” contest.
In her entry, Hoffman noted contributions that King has made not only to BMS but also Long Memorial United Methodist Church, where she serves as youth leader, in the wake of the April 27, 2011 tornadoes.
“We lost our church. We lost four people, but Donna never let her kids give up and she never let me give up either,” Hoffman said.
Jennifer Kelsey, a North Carolina educator who won last year’s “Apple for a Teacher” contest, encouraged the student body to emulate King’s compassion and dedication.
“This prize pays off today, but her behavior that she has modeled for you and that you could model for everybody else will pay off everyday,” Kelsey said.
After thanking several people who have inspired her on her personal and professional journey, King spent most of her speech Tuesday offering words of encouragement to BMS students.
She assured them that although they live in a small town, they are destined for greatness.
King reserved special praise for her group of students.
“I thank you for giving me the opportunity to teach you just a few things. But I promise you that in the end when we look back, you have been my greatest teacher,” King said.
BMS principal Amber Freeman said during Tuesday’s ceremony that a committee will be formed to help decide how the $10,000 grant from Green Mountain Naturals will be spent.