“It was my first year of teaching. I asked if it was for religious reasons. He said, ‘No, I just don’t feel like getting up,’” said Scarberry, a seventh-grade English Language Arts teacher at Bankhead Middle School. “I realized that these kids had no idea about the sacrifices that were being made. My job as a teacher is to ensure that these kids become productive, respectful human beings, and patriotism is part of that.”
On Friday, Scarberry received the Veterans of Foreign Wars Citizenship Education Teacher Award in an afternoon assembly program.
She is one of three teachers in the state to get the honor for the 2013-2014 school year.
Scarberry has been recognized several times in recent years by local VFW Post 4850 and at the district level. This is her first year to win the state award.
“I’m proud of this, and I’m proud of our kids. Each year, it gets a little bit better and they get more involved,” she said.
Under Scarberry’s leadership, seventh graders at BMS write letters and send care packages to soldiers who are serving overseas.
They are responsible for raising and lowering the school’s flag each day and organize the Veterans Day program.
At the beginning of the school year, the students participate in hands-on lessons about military life when they are visited by several soldiers.
A series of stations teach them about field rations, living quarters, weapons, vehicles and physical training.
“We start out the year with that so they can see what these soldiers have to go through,” Scarberry said.
Scarberry’s name was submitted in the middle school category by Paulette Murray, Ladies Auxiliary president of VFW Post 4850 in Jasper.
Murray said she was impressed by the projects that Scarberry leads in her classrooms.
Scarberry’s students were also well-represented recently in an annual writing contest sponsored by VFW.
“Last year, all of my Patriotic Pen winners came from her classes,” Murray said.
In addition to Murray, the following VFW representatives were on hand to present the award to Scarberry: state senior vice commander Calvin Underwood, District 3 commander Jerry Anger, Post 4850 commnader Arnold Morris, Post 4850 quartermaster David Quartieri and chaplain Angie Gossett.
“It is a pleasure to come to a school where you are learning about our country and our veterans and where patriotism is in the class. I know you will succeed in life being grounded in patriotism and what our country stands for,” Underwood said.