By Tia Lynn Lecorchick, Staff Writer
Amy Saylor BeMent, a MCHS teacher for 11 years, was chosen as Morgan County’s Teacher of the Year. BeMent was named the top teacher from a pool of four Morgan County teacher nominees including Angela Stapleton, Lamb Eggers, and Connie Cunningham.
“I was astonished! The three teachers from the other schools are all amazing professionals and I did not expect to be selected.I feel an incredible amount of responsibility with this award to represent those other teachers and Morgan County schools well in the state process,” said BeMent. And yet, this teacher of the year did not always plan on becoming a teacher.
“I did not become a teacher until I was 30. After working full-time for eight years, I had a series of realizations about how all of that ‘stuff’ I had studied in high school and college, like history and economics, actually shaped my life and my experiences. I had always been drawn to education, but suddenly I knew what it was that I wanted to teach. I wanted to make those historical and economic connections real for students in a way that it never was for me in high school. I went back to UGA to get my teaching degree and here I am,” said BeMent.
Morgan County High School Principal Jim Malanowski credits BeMent’s win with her above-and-beyond commitment to education and the wellbeing of her students. BeMent not only teaches Advance Placement Government, Economics and International Baccalaureate Economics, but she serves as the co-advisor for Y-Club, an extracurricular club for youths, and takes participating students annually to the Georgia Youth Assembly and Georgia United Nations Assembly.
BeMent also created the Sophomore Congress eight years ago, in which students discuss and debate ideas in a and pass laws together to learn how a legislature typically works.
According to Malanowski, BeMent’s influence in the Sophomore Congress directly inspired and equipped students to petition the Georgia General Assembly to pass an anti-texting and driving law.
“Her work with students in the legislative process led MCHS students to lobby the state legislature to pass Caleb’s Law, an anti-texting law that honors the memory of Caleb Sorohan, a former MCHS student who died while texting and driving. The year after the students got Caleb’s Law passed, Ms. BeMent worked with students to develop an anti-texting program that they presented to schools and student groups across the state,” said Malanowski.
“I believe that students will remember what they use. I hope that I have provided my students with enough opportunities to use their knowledge in action, such as Sophomore Congress or the current school surplus project, and that when the time comes they are able to use this knowledge in their own lives,” explained BeMent.
BeMent will now be considered for the statewide recognition of Georgia’s Teacher of the Year, which will be determined this coming Spring.
BeMent was nominated by her fellow teachers and selected the winner by seven judges, comprised of prominent community members including Ellen Warren, commission chairwoman;Terry Evans, chairman of the Morgan County Hospital Authority; Minnie Peek, retired teacher; Tom Wommack, former school board member, Fred Perriman, mayor-elect of Madison; Michael Lamar, Morgan County Manager; and Christine Lambert.
BeMent is proud to be representing Morgan Count as their Teach of the Year. “This county is blessed with dedicated teachers! Despite continual changes in educational standards and assessments with ever-increasing workloads, at the end of the day, what we have in Morgan County is great teaching,” said BeMent.