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Teachers Receive Gift from Community

 Teachers from Swansboro High School hold up their gift cards they received from their community
 Teachers from Swansboro High School hold up the gift cards they received from their community.


Swansboro Teachers Receive Gift from Community

As teachers from Phase 3 schools excitedly returned to their buildings Thursday, teachers at Swansboro High School were greeted with a wonderful surprise.  

During what teachers and staff thought was a normal first-day-back breakfast and staff meeting, Jennifer Davis, an OCS employee and active member of the Swansboro community, and Stella Perrin of Emerald Isle Baptist Church, presented each teacher with what they hoped would be a small reminder that they are appreciated: a $50 gift card to use toward restoring their classroom. 

Teachers from Swansboro Elementary School smile and pose with gift cards they received
Teachers from Swansboro Elementary School smile and hold up their gift cards.

Teachers at Swansboro High are not the only ones receiving this gift from their community. Schools included in the project were Swansboro High, Swansboro Middle, Swansboro Elementary, Queens Creek Elementary and Sand Ridge Elementary. Over the last 2 weeks, organizations, businesses and individuals in and around Swansboro raised around $13,000 so that each of the roughly-260 teachers in the Swansboro area could have a gift card to jump-start their recovery.   

“Everyone says ‘we need to support our teachers,’” Ms. Davis said. “...It was really important to us to put actions to those words, to be sure that we don’t just tell our teachers that they’re appreciated, we show them that they’re appreciated.” 

That goal of making teachers feel appreciated was accomplished, judging by the cheers and applause following the announcement and the reactions of individual teachers.  

“It was heartwarming,” Daniel Scott, the band director at Swansboro High, said. “Thoughts and prayers are really important, but also getting something that’s tangible that will really help benefit the students is something that’s amazing and awe-inspiring.” 

Staff from Swansboro Elementary hold a gift card given to them by their community
Staff from Swansboro Elementary were excited to receive gift cards given to them by their community.

Ms. Davis said that giving back to teachers was part of what she and Ms. Perrin call “Project Connect,” and that it took the support of many in the community to make it happen.  

Sponsors for the project included Swansboro United Methodist Church, One Harbor Church, Emerald Isle Baptist Church, the Swansboro Rotary, the Town of Tullahoma, Tennessee, who adopted the Town of Swansboro following the storm, Beulah Baptist Church in Virginia and many private donors.  

Organizers said they hope this money will allow teachers to replenish some of what they may have lost in Hurricane Florence, or to fund an activity or learning experience for when their students return.