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North Augusta school honors Aiken County's top teacher

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NORTH AUGUSTA — Aiken County’s Teacher of the Year for the 2010-11 school year received a surprise celebration in her honor Monday.

Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Hammond Hill Elementary teacher Uyen Griffis and pupils celebrate her choice as Aiken County’s Teacher of the Year.

Uyen Griffis, a preschool special education teacher at Hammond Hill Elementary School, was greeted with applause, hugs and red roses as she walked through the halls of the school.

She was followed by her pupils, who were being pulled in a wagon.

Everyone then went outside to the playground, where she rode in the back of a convertible with her children and waved to pupils, teachers and others as they cheered for her.

Family and district officials, including county school Superintendent Beth Everitt, were among those who joined the schoolwide celebration.

Griffis had been announced as the recipient of the honor Thursday during the
district’s annual Teacher of the Year banquet.

She has taught for 15 years, three of which have been at Hammond Hill Elementary.

Griffis chose to teach in special education because of her personal experience of having a family member with special needs.

“It inspired me,” she said.

She said she’s reminded every day why she enjoys teaching.

“There’s a need to continue to make changes for our children and not give up on our children, the need to serve, the need to be a better teacher each year,” Griffis said. “You have a lot of great joys teaching. Every day is a different day.”

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