PORT HAWKESBURY: A restaurant franchise and former students helped reward teachers under the Strait regional centre for education and Conseil scolaire acadien provincial.

Local students nominated their teacher in a local contest during the first week of October to kick-off Teacher Appreciation Day. The contest, sponsored by Subway franchisees in Atlantic Canada, thanked teachers for their efforts with awards, including $18,000 in gift cards to 180 teachers throughout Atlantic Canada during the week. Ten of those of those cards were awarded to teachers in the Strait area.

The winning teachers are: Alicia Mills, Chedabucto Education Centre; Shawn Whitty, Tamarac Education Centre; Jennifer Desmond, St. Andrew’s Consolidated; Frances Pierce-Landry, École Beau-Port; Renata Bouchie, Fanning Education Centre; Amy Poirier, East Antigonish Education Centre/Academy; Gaye Middleton, East Richmond Education Centre; Jill Campbell-Jessome, Inverness Education Centre-Academy; Melissa Cummings, Dalbrae Academy; and Chelsea MacCuspic Felix Marchand Education Centre.

Cummings said she appreciated the nomination from former student Allie Beaton.

“She, along with her fellow graduates and peers, missed a huge milestone in their high school experience; many missed sports, graduation ceremonies, prom, and all that it involves being part of our school community,” she told The Reporter. “Being recognized by a graduate that missed a large milestone made the recognition more special as it was nice to know despite all that students missed out on, Allie still recognized that not only myself, but the whole teaching and support team at Dalbrae was supporting our student body. A teacher is only as effective as their co-workers and students who see value in what they do, I thank Allie for seeing value in what I do.”

Noting that school can be different things to different people –an escape, a place of comfort, a source of advice, a place to learn, or be a member of a committee, group, or team – Cummings said the global pandemic has had a large impact.

“Covid has changed how we teach, learn, and participate and had a huge impact on students and teachers alike.”

For her part, Campbell-Jessome said she was “touched” to be nominated by her daughter and former student Robyn.

“I have been teaching for 26 years in the region, and feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and work with so many wonderful young people from across Inverness County, including my three children,” she told The Reporter. “I think it was extra special to receive recognition this year as it is a year like no other! It is wonderful to be back in school, and I think the students would agree. We have all been craving some measure of normalcy, and being in school has helped to provide that.”

Campbell-Jessome said the arrival of the Subway party platter on October 30 “brought smiles to the faces of the teachers” and was “a lift for everyone.”

“Teachers love it when food appears on the staffroom table,” she remarked. “Rest assured the food was enjoyed and consumed completely by the end of our staggered lunch breaks. Thank you for making this happen for us.”

The ten winning teachers each received a gift card and a free lunch for all the school’s teachers.

“There can never be enough thanks for teachers who are doing amazing work under pressures that none of us could have imagined a year ago,” added Darren Cummings, local Subway franchisee. “This is just a small way to say thanks and we figured it would be nice to hear that praise directly from their students.”