Viking seniors recognize teachers who’ve made
a difference in their lives
Jasper High teacher Sandy Wright smiles while talking about Jasper senior defensive lineman Blake Bentley.
Daily Mountain Eagle - James Phillips
By JAMES PHILLIPS, Daily Mountain Eagle
When the Jasper Vikings host Deshler tonight at Ki-Ro Gambrell Field, it will be the last regular season home game for 15 seniors. Earlier this week, those players spent a morning saying thank you to area teachers who have had an impact on their lives.
The teacher appreciation time was an idea first-year Jasper head coach Bryan Moore and his wife, Lindsey, wanted to do as a way for their players to give back to people who have helped them throughout their school years. It is something the couple did at their former school in Eufaula and wanted to bring that tradition to Jasper.
“It has certainly been a great season for our football program with hopefully many more games to come, but nothing has been as special as recognizing those teachers who have impacted the lives of our seniors,” Bryan Moore said. “Jasper City Schools are filled with wonderful teachers and administrators who are responsible for helping raise this incredible group of seniors. This was simply a thank you to them for the kindness and compassion they show our players and students every day.”
Each senior football player picked one teacher to write a personal letter of thanks and give them their jersey to wear during senior recognition at the game tonight. Teachers were surprised with the letters and jerseys at their schools on Tuesday morning. The group of players visited T.R. Simmons Elementary, Memorial Park Elementary, Maddox Intermediate School, the Walker County Center of Technology and Jasper High School that day, presenting the items to the teachers either before the entire school or in their classrooms.
“This was such a surprise,” said Robin Green, a teacher at Memorial Park. She was presented a letter and jersey by her son, Russ Green. “This is the best thing ever. I can’t believe I didn’t know about it. This means so much for Russ to give me this, and it is so nice for all the boys to have come to my classroom.”
Russ Green said he didn’t cry like his mom did while she read the letter.
“I probably should have cried,” he said. “But it really was great to be able to give that to my mother. She has impacted me and so many other kids over the years.”
Lindsey Moore said seeing the reactions of the teachers was priceless.
“Part of ‘coaching’ young men is teaching them life lessons,” she said. “We started doing this with our former team in Eufaula and the reward Bryan and I received from watching students honor those who have made an impact on their lives is indescribable. I look forward to helping organize this every year as it is by far the most rewarding part of Bryan’s job. The letters these young men wrote were incredibly touching; we told them to expect the teachers to cry, and we were right. Jasper is lucky to have such wonderful educators, and we wanted them to be recognized.”
Teachers recognized from T.R. Simmons included Angie Lum by Reed Lum, Sherry Williams by Cam Lambert and Renee Barrera by Michael Herron; from Memorial Park included Robin Green by Russ Green and Katie Oliver by Ryan Pugh; from Maddox included Leigh Evans by Michael Crear and Kalah Morrow by Tyler Morrow; from WCCT Robin Bonner by Ben and Cole Bonner, and from Jasper High School included Ryan Hall by Cole Bonner, Kayla Goetz by Kennedy Gomez, Wendy Wilhite by Trent Dobbins, Sandy Wright by Blake Bentley, Jessica Moore by Micah Woods, Jeanie Murray by KD Shelton and Kellie Cook by Ronnie Holiday.
Sandy Wright became emotional as she read her letter from Blake Bentley, saying, “This just means so much to me,” before she hugged all of the 15 seniors.
Micah Woods said he knew his teacher was going to cry before he gave the letter and jersey to Jessica Moore.
“She is going to cry. I know that is going to happen. She means a lot to several of us players,” Woods said with a big smile on his face.
Bryan Moore said he was happy to facilitate these memories for the players and the teachers.
“I wish I could go back and tell the many teachers that impacted my life and helped to mentor me as a high school student that I am so thankful for them. This is something that our players and those teachers will remember forever. This truly is the Viking Way.”