The Edgefield County Chamber of Commerce and the Edgefield County School District sponsored the annual Celebration of Success on Sept. 3 at Strom Thurmond High School. During the evening, the Citizen of the Year, Teacher of the Year and Support Staff Person of the Year were announced.
Individual schools’ teachers of the year and support staff of the year were also honored with special gifts.
“This is a very special occasion and one of the fun times,” said Edgefield County Superintendent Greg Anderson. “It is one of the highlights of my being superintendent. I said when I got the job, and I’ll say it again, that we have some of the best employees a school district could possibly have.”
Brad Covar, last year’s Citizen of the Year, introduced this year’s recipient, Rebecca “Becky” Turner.
“This year’s recipient has been a leader in our community for many years,” he said. “She is a member of numerous nonprofit organizations, too many to mention, and serves as a board member, officer or committee chair for many of these organizations. She is highly visible and accessible in the community and participates in nearly all local activities.”
Turner is a registered nurse.
“She is an active member of Edgefield First Baptist Church and spends many Sundays in the nursery,” said Covar. “She can be found each week in the pages of The Edgefield Advertiser sharing favorite recipes or each Saturday on the town square selling sweets to raise money for the Old Edgefield District Genealogical Society. You most certainly will see her decorating the town square for special events and tending plants and flower boxes around town.”
He mentioned that she has been affectionately named “The Water Fairy.” With all these community projects, he said, she still finds time to cook, garden and read. However, her first love is spending time with her two sons, five grandchildren and her husband, Dr. Wiley Turner.
Turner said she was “shocked” at having been chosen for the award.
“I do what I do because I enjoy it and because I have to put my energy somewhere. I worked at the hospital for 20 years and I worked 16-hour shifts in the early years. I’m just a person with a lot of energy. I don’t do things for recognition. I just enjoy doing them,” she said.
Chamber administrator Donna Livingston said this was the 18th time the Citizen of the Year Award has been given for Edgefield County.
Elizabeth “Libba” Ingram, a teacher at Strom Thurmond High School, was named Teacher of the Year and will participate in the South Carolina State Teacher of the Year competition in February. She is an Edgefield County native and consistently supports her school and community.
Several of her co-workers described Ingram as genuinely concerned about her students and a teacher who attends as many school activities as possible to support them. She implements hands-on activities and strategies in her classroom and makes the academic material relevant to her students’ lives, they said.
She assists with the production of the Strom Thurmond High yearbook and is the guiding force behind the Relay for Life Team at Strom Thurmond. She also serves on the leadership team.
Ingram was overcome with emotion about winning the award.
“It was a surprise to say the least,” she said. “I just love what I do. I didn’t start teaching until I was 40, and I was blessed to return to the school I graduated from to teach. Everyone has been so kind and supportive of me. I am really fulfilling my dream.”
Assistant Superintendent Donna Strom introduced the Support Staff Person of the Year, coach Leroy Rouse.
“A fellow staff member wrote that coach Rouse is more than a good role model and basketball coach,” she said. “The colleague noted that coach Rouse drives buses, handles discipline issues in a firm but compassionate manner and he is there to open school when needed. He talks to students and helps them with specific needs.”
Strom added that many of Rouse’s duties involve tasks that, though difficult to describe, support the teachers and administration and assist in helping the school run smoothly.
“He has a spirit of humility and a sincere and consistent dedication to every staff member and student at Strom Thurmond High School,” she said. “In fact, he loves the children so much that he didn’t want to leave the basketball game tonight to come to the ceremony because he didn’t want to leave the kids in the gym.”
Dinner and entertainment by the Mike Frost Band followed the awards ceremony.