ROSES to Cindi Rigsbee, a reading teacher at Gravelly Hill Middle School in the Orange County School District, who recently was selected the 2008-09 North Carolina teacher of the year. Considering there are more than 95,000 teachers in North Carolina, that's a magnificent honor. Rigsbee competed against the teachers of the year from the eight other regions of North Carolina to capture the state crown. And she's not done yet; by virtue of being named North Carolina's teacher of the year, she becomes a contestant for the title of national teacher of the year.She was named the Orange County Schools teacher of the year in May 2007, and last fall she was named the Piedmont-Triad Central Region teacher of the year. Rigsbee, in more than 20 years of teaching, has taught high school English and drama and middle school language arts, reading, dance and drama in Vance, Wake and Durham counties. At Gravelly Hill, she teaches reading in sixth and seventh grades.There are a lot of good teachers, some poor teachers and a handful of truly great teachers. We can all recall those few -- probably no more than one or two -- who made a profound and positive difference in our own lives. A lot of students are going to look back someday and remember Rigsbee as one of those.
ROSES, while we're at it, to the teachers in all the local schools -- although we've been beaten to the punch. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation recently presented 3,700 roses to local teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week. It's a lovely gesture and well-deserved. Teachers, as everyone knows, don't make nearly what they're worth; few jobs are more demanding, and even fewer are more important. The school year is winding down, and it's a good time to say thank you to those who have taught, cared for and watched over our children for the past seven months.
ROSES to the individuals and agencies -- including state and local fire, police and emergency personnel, UNC Air Care, student groups, parent volunteers and Barnes Salvage -- for volunteering their time and services to help raise students' awareness of the dangers of drunk driving.A mock car crash was staged at East Chapel Hill High School last month, and another is scheduled at Chapel Hill High on May 16. The vivid demonstrations are held to coincide with end-of-semester celebrations such as proms and graduations. If they help even a single young person think twice before doing something unwise and dangerous, they're well worth the considerable effort that goes into them.
Finally, ROSES to everyone -- and indications are there were a bunch of you -- who exercised your democratic right and responsibility Tuesday.At this writing, the polls are still open, and we have no idea which candidates came out on top or whether the land transfer tax passed. And although we have our own opinions about those candidates and issues, just now that doesn't really matter. What does matter is that so many of you took the time and made the effort to vote -- and not only to vote, but to educate yourselves about the people and issues on the ballot. Election Day always brings to mind the maxim that decisions are made by those who show up. As we decide what direction this county, and this country, are going, each of you who showed up Tuesday earned the right to squeeze in next to the folks on either side and take hold of your share of the reins.