Wanda Fowler was honored as the Educator of the Year Thursday night at the Greater Greer Education Foundation Gala at the Cannon Centre. She has served as Executive Director of the Middle Tyger Community Center in Lyman for the past 14 years.
Chris Elliott received the Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously. Her husband, Warren and their children were on hand to receive the honor. Left to right: Lezlee and Jenifer Elliott, Kristin LaRoy and Warren.
Alliston Lister, right, was the winner of the Diamond Dig. Peggy Neel, a member of the Foundation's Gala Committee, is on the left.
It was hard to tell who had the most fun at the Education Gala. The "Swingin' Medallions" playing three sets, some upside down, or the hundreds of guests sharing the dance floor.
Foundation Board Member Julie McMakin, who imade the presentation, told the crowd that Fowler has been an educator her entire adult life.
"Her passion for teaching began in the traditional classroom where she taught students at Boiling Springs High School for 21 years. Her career in education continued as she taught education classes at USC Upstate; taught classes for teachers across South Carolina; and served as Director of Graduate Regional Studies for the University of South Carolina.
"She currently works in her local community to improve the overall health and wellness of children and families. She has served as Executive Director of hte Middle Tyger Community Center in Lyman for the past 14 years. In addition to her responsibilities in program implementation and serving as supervisor to 25 highly skilled staff, Wanda is heavily involved in the sustainability efforts of the Center."
The Foundation honored Christine Elliott with a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award.
Foundation Chairman Margaret Burch presented the award to her family, Elliott’s husband, Warren Elliott, her three daughters, Lezlee Elliott, Jennifer Elliott, and Kristen LaRoy.
“This evening the Board is honoring one of our most illustrious and beloved educators. In the eyes of those who knew her vision and passion for education, she died an untimely death….with her boots on, sitting at her desk, expecting the next class to enter her classroom. As always she was prepared to open their minds to the joys of learning,” Burch said.
“After 30 years in the classrooms in our area, she was continuing to look ahead to more challenges, to build the Greer Schools’ International Baccalaureate program to the best in our county. IB is new for our community, and she was promoting it and encouraging students to strive for the excellence of the program. Already many had graduated with the IB degree and were pursuing higher education in prestigious colleges.
“But in January of this year, Christine Mangum Elliott’s work as teacher was finished, cut short (we often say)---- but not before many students and teachers were touched by her devotion and commitment to excellence in education. They recount her ingenuity in turning the classroom into a golf course in order to better teach her students about angles, or the time they made ice cream to learn the principles of salt and ice. Of course they were devoted to her and deeply saddened at her death.
“But who would not want the news of their passing to be on the front page of the newspaper, above the fold, with a headline that reads “Elliott’s Laughter, Style Will Be Missed”? A teacher with laughter and style, what more would you want said about the teacher who had touched your child’s life? Valuable ingredients to make the best of teachers: a keen sense of humor and a teaching style of her very own.
“We celebrate tonight that Christine Elliott lived among us and touched in a most magnificent way, the lives of our children."
The benefit featured a live and silent auction that brought in nearly $15,000, entertainment was provided by The "Swingin’ Medallions" and additional funds were raised for scholarships for students taking courses at technical schools.
Alliston Lister won the diamond dig .
Money raised by the Education Foundation is rewarded as grants to schools or community grants.