Florida Youth Organize Event to Honor Their Schoolteachers

Contributed By Darrick Hatch, Church News contributor

  • 20 June 2018

Youth from the Boynton Beach Florida Stake welcome their schoolteachers to the teacher appreciation event they organized.  Photo by Tom Schmuki.

Article Highlights

  • The youth planned the evening to give back to their teachers.
  • The work that teachers do resembles the Savior’s work.

“We wanted to give them an evening of deep gratitude and show them how the work they are doing resembles the Savior’s work.” —Debora Gilmore, Boynton Beach Florida Stake public affairs director

BOYNTON BEACH, FLORIDA

A red carpet rolled out in front of the Church building welcomed the teachers as they arrived. Each teacher was joined by the student who had nominated him or her, and they took a picture together as they walked inside.

The students are youth from the Boynton Beach Florida Stake. They worked together with their leaders to plan a night to honor their schoolteachers.

There were more than 75 teachers from the Palm Beach County School District recognized, coming from 27 different schools and five different cities. The theme of the event—“One Teacher Can Change the World”—supported the overall goal, which was to thank the educators for their sacrifices and service.

“It’s great to be able to give back to the teachers who give us so much,” said Mackenzi Gilmore, one of the youth from the Florida Boynton Beach Stake. “I’m glad we were able to recognize all the influential teachers from Palm Beach County School District.”

Not only did the youth work with their leaders to plan the event, but they also helped coordinate details, set up the venue, and clean up afterwards. They also participated in serving the meal, made entirely from scratch. The students prepared for the event by taking etiquette classes. They learned how to provide an atmosphere of reverence and elegance to honor the teachers from their community.

Stake president Andy Lustig gave a personal tribute, talking about his experience working as a music teacher for nine years. He also took the time to explain to the educators the values that the youth of the Church strive to live by.

“We wanted the event to be about our recognition of and appreciation for the millions of things that our teachers do to inspire our youth,” said Debora Gilmore, Boynton Beach Stake public affairs director. “They sacrifice much of their time, energy, and even their own funds to provide life-changing moments for our youth. We wanted to give them an evening of deep gratitude and show them how the work they are doing resembles the Savior’s work.” 

The youth planned the evening for their schoolteachers with the theme “One Teacher Can Change the World.”

Wilna Morency, a young woman from the Boynton Beach Florida Stake, welcomes her teacher to the event. Photo by Tom Schmuki.

The event was dedicated to educators, administration, and city officials. One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of the tributes written for the teachers. The youth stood on the stage to read their tributes to the teachers who had impacted their lives.

Eryn Hurley, a teacher from the Palm Beach County School District, poses for a picture with her student Maya Gilmore. Photo by Tom Schmuki.

Jessica Jones with her teacher, Ian Wiskoff. Photo by Tom Schmuki.

The youth helped to set up and decorate the cultural hall for the event. Photo by Tom Schmuki.

“As the students arrive for their first-period class, they have already been to 45 minutes of seminary every morning, or ‘zero period’ you could call it,” he said with a smile. He explained that the students enlist in the four-year program to learn about the life and teachings of Christ as recorded in the scriptures.

Each of the teachers was given a small gift, which included a tribute from the student who had nominated them, their picture, a certificate of appreciation, and a For the Strength of Youth pamphlet.

Juan Argote with his teacher, Erica Bell. The youth helped to plan and serve a homemade meal for their teachers. Photo by Tom Schmuki.

“I challenge all of you to read that [pamphlet],” said President Lustig. “It will help you better understand the standards by which our youth are trying to live.”

The meeting ended with a musical number performed by the youth and a closing prayer.

“This was incredible,” said one teacher at the end of the night.

Magdalena Vargas, a teacher from the Palm Beach County School District, poses for a picture with her student Kaitlyn Sanchez. The students wrote their teachers individual tributes and read them out loud as part of the program. Photo by Tom Schmuki.

The youth helped to set up and decorate the cultural hall for the event. Photo by Tom Schmuki.

Katie Altimirano, a teacher, is welcomed to the event. The youth each nominated a teacher to attend this event who had positively impacted them. Photo by Tom Schmuki.