C. F. "Cliff" Spanier Award 2009
Written by Mr. Terry Beasley
It was 1955 and I was a 2nd Grader at Buckatunna High School. It was a 1st through 12th grade school. In those days, our quarter reading grade was determined by how well we read orally "in front of the class." When my name was called, I marched to the front of the class and waited for my teacher to tell me what page I was to read.
I read haltingly and missed several words. Finally, the teacher said, "Terry, if you miss one more word, you are going to make the lowest grade in the class." Needless to say, I missed other words and the entire class knew I was the poorest reader in the class!
I will never forget this teacher. My experience with her was 53 years ago, and I can still see this poor, skinny, scared little boy standing in front of the class humiliated to tears.
This teacher would NEVER...NEVER have won the C. F. "Cliff" Spanier Award!
Why? Because this award is about...
--Seeing potential in a child where others only see problems
--Helping a child where others simply don't want to be bothered
--Nurturing a child where others are quick to point out their faults
--Loving a child where others might show contempt
--Seeing possibilities where others see can only see failure
A Spanier Award Winner will...
--Reach out to those in poverty as quickly as they will the well to do
--Reach out to the mentally challenged as well as the intellectual
--Reach out to that "bad to the bone" little boy as readily as they will the little "bow head" girl from the affluent family
--Reach out to the "outcast" and the "well-placed" with equal fervor
--Take what others consider a bad assignment and have others asking, "How's she do that?"
This year's Spanier recipient probably prayed a prayer like this a thousand times...
Lord, show me my place in the lives of these children and remind me daily that they were created by you and are infinitely precious in your sight.
Lord, help me show each child that they matter to me and help them believe that they matter to you too.
St. Matthew, a devout disciple of Christ, wrote in his gospel that none of us should expect to be thanked for helping those who are "like" us or for doing things for those who would do things for us. In fact, the scripture puts it this way, "If you love only those who love you, why should you be rewarded? Even the scoundrels do that much! If you are a friend only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even the heathens do that."
This year's recipient of the C. F. "Cliff" Spanier Award is especially important to me because I have known her for almost 20 years and knew her when she was a second grade student at Brazier Elementary where I was principal. She has provided an abundance of patience this year and has nurtured and molded young lives.
The 2009 Spanier Award Winner is - Tiffany Irby!