AIKEN - Margo Gore let out a nervous laugh as she began her acceptance speech as the Aiken County Teacher of the Year.
"I don't have anything prepared," Mrs. Gore said as she beamed with excitement.
The Kennedy Middle School science teacher never mentioned her teaching talents, but graciously thanked everyone from her immediate family, including her husband, to her school family, including every teacher and pupil in the county.
"The students make me what I am," Mrs. Gore said at the annual Teacher of the Year recognition ceremony.
Her winning ways come from her hands-on approach in the classroom and in her pupils' lives since stepping into the classroom nine years ago.
Mrs. Gore wrote in her application that she sensed it was her "calling to impact the lives of children." She wrote that her foster-parent experience only "enhanced my ability to understand the basic instinctual needs of all children."
"I have found that students, especially middle school students, respond to correction better when I instruct them as I would my own children," Mrs. Gore wrote.
Instead of ending the school day when the bell rings, Mrs. Gore's passion to nurture transcends to the after-school lives of her pupils.
"As often as possible, I attend their soccer and softball games, piano and dance recitals, scout programs and other activities in order to let them know that I support them in every aspect of their lives," Mrs. Gore wrote. She said that she hopes her good deeds will inspire her pupils to do the same.
Kennedy Middle School Principal Garen Cofer said that Mrs. Gore's ability to include everyone in learning doesn't stop with her pupils, but he even stops by to participate in science lab lessons.
"She's a pleasure to work with and there's never anything you can ask her to do that she won't do," Mr. Cofer said. "It's obvious why the parents and students like her. "
Mrs. Gore wrote that as a spokeswoman for the education profession, she would emphasize moving toward "the practice of standardization among our nation's schools."
Mrs. Gore is a doctoral candidate at the University of South Carolina, and a National Board Certificate candidate.
Along with her title, Mrs. Gore received a 2007 Toyota Camry and a laptop computer. She will now compete for the state title.
Reach Julia Sellers at (803) 648-1395, Ext. 106, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEACHER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
- Tomiko Smalls, Mossy Creek Elementary School
- Christine Liner, Paul Knox Middle School
- Edna Mills, Aiken High School