This Houston County teacher of the year loves her job, and it shows

The wonderful place of Middle Georgia exists because of the people in the community that commit their time and effort to make it a great place to live.

Often, these community leaders, students and organizations receive awards for their efforts in being the best they can be and making Middle Georgia a better place.

Here is a list of people in Middle Georgia who have recently received awards.

Houston County Teacher of the Year

Kathy Releford remembers her mother singing songs and swinging her hips while she worked hard at a nursing home and her father seemed to be most content when he was working in a field or dealing with livestock.

Releford said that’s when she learned that if she found something she loved to do she would never work a day in her life.

“I absolutely love what I do everyday, I really don’t think of it as work or a job,” she said.

Releford, a special education teacher at Matt Arthur Elementary School, was recently named the 2019-20 Houston County Teacher of the Year, according to a news release.

“When my colleagues got together and voted and nominated me for the position of Teacher of the Year for Matt Arthur, it really blessed me,” Releford said. “I’m grateful. I’m honored, but I’m privileged to represent Houston County at the state level.”

Releford said that special educators are typically separated from the general population of the school, but they are not forgotten.

“My granddaddy used to tell us all the time, ‘People are always watching... so make sure that whatever you do you do it with integrity and do it with dignity and you represent, of course, the family, but yourself and God very well,’” she said.

Houston County Employees of the Year

Houston County School System announced its 2019-20 employees of the year at the July 25 opening session as well, according to the release.

The recipients of the awards are as follows:

  • Bus Driver of the Year: Tonya Grant
  • Bus Monitor of the Year: Terrence Kendrick
  • Custodian of the Year: Marcus Hayes of Veterans High School
  • Distribution Center Employee of the Year: Daniel Rice
  • Maintenance Employee of the Year: Adam Isbell
  • School Nutrition Program Manager of the Year: Jennifer Howard of Lake Joy Primary School

Downtown Diversity Initiative

Five black-owned businesses are coming to Downtown Macon because of the Downtown Diversity Initiative, which awarded five people $6,500 to help start their businesses in Downtown Macon, according to a Telegraph article.

The five recipients were as follows:

  • Beverly Pitts: Carbel Beauty Plus, a second location to Carbel’s Beauty Supply on Pio Nono
  • Darrin Ford: A Brook Haven, a bar and lounge geared toward business professionals
  • Nathalie Armand-Bradley: ModPunch, an interior design company
  • Brandon Woodford: Wizdum Clothing, a retail space and clothing store
  • Arrkeicha Danzie: Good Boy Goodies, an all-natural dog treat line

Coca-Cola UNITED ‘Pay It Forward’ Internship Week

Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED announced the 25 students it selected from participating Historically Black College and University to attend its “Pay It Forward” Internship Week, and two of those students attend a Middle Georgia University, according to a news release.

Jemimah Semexant and Miles Gunby of Fort Valley State University were chosen to attend the week-long program that shares with students the types of opportunities available at Coca-Cola, according to the release.

“We are excited to meet and get to know these exceptional HBCU students as they join us for their internship week,” said Mike Suco, vice president of the East region of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED. “Our goal is to provide these interns with the opportunity to develop their career goals further and to gather valuable perspective as they plan for their next phase in life.”

Jenna Eason is a multimedia reporter at The Telegraph and creates serviceable news around food, culture and people who make a difference in the Macon community. Jenna joined The Telegraph staff after graduating from Mercer University in May 2018 with a journalism degree.