By Erica Thomas, Managing Editor
PINSON — The Pinson Education Foundation held its 11th Annual Awards Banquet on Monday, May 7, 2019, at Palmerdale United Methodist Church.
Several teachers, support staff and outstanding students were recognized for their efforts and character.
Pinson Valley High School’s Culinary Arts class prepared the food for the evening’s event. Ginny Jett, the Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism instructor, said her students started Friday by preparing vegetables. They worked all day Monday making everything from scratch.
They served a salad with made-from-scratch dressing, stuffed Greek chicken breast with roasted potatoes, garlic-sautéed green beans and focaccia bread. Jett said the experience could be more than a lesson for the ninth – 12th graders.
“There are industries that come and go but this is not one of them,” Jett said. “So, just to inspire them to get involved, even if it’s just cooking at home, that’s what we’re here to do.”
Food Giant provided all the food for the banquet.
Joe Cochran, the executive director of the Pinson Education Foundation, started the banquet off with a warm welcome. The Boy Scouts led the crowd in the pledge and Barry Wilson with the Palmerdale Homestead Community Center led them in prayer.
Part of the Pinson Valley High School Chamber Choir, directed by Sarah Timothy, performed “Royals” by Lorde. Not all the members were able to be there because they were at the band banquet, which started earlier in the evening. The small group belted out the lyrics, wowing the crowd with their harmonizing vocals.
The guest speaker of the event was the director of Central Alabama’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Bill Gray spoke about the importance of teachers involving themselves in the lives of students. He used analogies with the hand-game “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to explain how the rock represents a Godly foundation, the paper represents the covering of love and acceptance from others, and the scissors represent how sharp God’s love is.
After the message, Joe Cochran introduced Pinson Valley High School’s head football coach Patrick Nix and head basketball coach Darrell Barber. The two helped Cochran present appreciation plaques to those who supported the teams over the past year. Among those honored were Jefferson County Commissioner Joe Knight, Pinson Mayor Hoyt Sanders, cheerleader coach Shannon Galamore and auto supplier Kamtek.
Commissioner Joe Knight, on behalf of the Jefferson County Commission, presented a resolution honoring Coach Nix on two, back-to-back championship wins. The resolution congratulated Nix and his team. Another resolution was presented to Coach Barber and his team for the basketball championship win.
“It was a heart-warming excitement for us to see those guys dig down a little bit deeper, then come back with a vengeance,” Knight said. “…Those lessons they learn to becoming a champion, they can apply to their lives, all their lives, as they grow old.”
Character winners were presented next to Pinson Valley High School students. Those students were Stephanie Conner, Cameron Ambrose, Satori Van Cleaf, Joseph Potter, Tannah Kirkland and Romeo Zempoalteca.
Students selected from Rudd Middle School were Alaina Mullen, Rider Acosta, Delaney Weekly, Hakeem Menifee, Kate Rickless and David Stewart.
Mayor Sanders presented the award for support staff. The winner was Lori Smith. Also nominated was Lori Akin. Both were recognized for going above and beyond to help teachers and students at Pinson Valley High School.
Teacher of the Year nominees were named from each school. Below is a list of nominees. The teachers with the (*) beside their names were the winners.
Rudd Middle School
The “Big Country Award” was given to the Career & Technical Student of the Year. The award was presented in the name of Cody Cole, who died in a crash in 2016. The winner of the 2019 Big Country Award was Niko Ramos. He was given a plaque and a $750 cash award.
The Student of the Year was Kaitlyn Ambrose. She was given $1,000. Other nominees were Faith Potter, William Clayton, Jerrett Goodman, Gabriel Clayton and Drew Rickles. The nominees received $250 each.
The Pinson Education Foundation was established and is promoted and sponsored by Palmerdale Homesteads Community Center.
Sponsors of the banquet included The Alabama Butterbean Festival, Food Giant, Unique Touch Gifts, Hometown Bank, Clay-Pinson Chamber of Commerce, Jay Ellet of State Farm, Cammie Cooper of State Farm, ESC Central, Pinson Valley Heaty Treating, Deerfoot Eye Care, Serra Automotive, Mills Pharmacy, Stanley Moss, John Churchwell, Shannon Galamore, Joy McCain and Steve Hudson.