Houston group awards those who work with exceptional children

Sun News correspondentMarch 27, 2013 

As part of the celebration of Exceptional Children’s Week, the Ellen Maltais chapter, Houston County Council for Exceptional Children held its annual awards ceremony March 7 at the Herman Ragin Center at the Board of Education office.

Leslie Allen, chapter president, said this is the second year the organization has given out awards to those who work with exceptional children -- defined as children who receive either special education instruction or are served through the gifted/talented program.

“We wanted to recognize the individuals that make extraordinary contributions to our exceptional children in Houston County,” said Allen.

Fifty-one nominations were received from special education teachers at 19 different schools making the selection choice very difficult, Allen said.

Awards were given in several categories.

The service provider category includes social workers, medical technicians, school nurses, para-pros, teachers who travel between schools, lunchroom workers and bus drives.

GENERAL EDUCATOR: Coach Jeff Peavy, Bonaire Middle School was nominated in part because he ensures children with special needs at Bonaire Middle are included, not only in physical education but in all sports, pep rallies and school activities.

His nomination stated “he goes beyond the call of duty in working with students with disabilities.”

SPECIAL EDUCATOR: Christy Nobles is an itinerate Autism teacher who, according to her nomination, is “ a champion for students on the spectrum.”

SERVICE PROVIDER: Tom Patton, Transportation. Patton is a special education route supervisor who according to his nomination will drive a bus himself to make sure students needs are met and “will go the extra mile.”

ADMINISTRATOR: Lionel Brown, principal of Veterans High School, daily checks on students with disabilities and gives support and resources to meet their needs. According to his nomination, Brown “takes a genuine interest in their lives.”

BUSINESS: Brother Jerry Walls, Southside Baptist Church. Southside Baptist Church has been a huge supporter of the Houston County Sharks, Houston County’s adapted sports team, which recently won the state championship in basketball. During the three state championships that the Sharks have hosted, Southside has provided many of the volunteers needed to run the games and organized the cafeteria.

Students who participated in the Exceptional Children’s week art contest included Jakboe Brown, Tamjann Thomas, James Gipson, Denziel Walker, Mariah Tharpe, Tamyla Tucker, Christian Fajardo, Samuel Walker, Bianca Tedesco, J.W. Kennedy, Destiny Beckmann, Justin Patridge, Morgan Norris, Jessica Villareal, Shane Patterson, Abigal Poss and Anthony Anderson.

Students used various mediums to express the theme “CEC ... 90 years ... exceptionally connected.”

All entries were submitted to the state contest. Last year, Houston County had the first place state winner.

Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or allinekent@cox.net.

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