HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — If you were out and about Wednesday morning, you may have noticed a lot of school buses across Cabell County. That’s because Wednesday marked the first official day of school.
To say that many of the kids and staff were excited to get the year started would be an understatement.
For Cabell County Schools bus drivers, the day started a little earlier; 5:30 am to be exact.
The bus drivers do more than transport close to 10,000 students every day.
“They build relationships with these students so they know when [students] are having a bad day,” said Cabell County Schools Superintendent Ryan Saxe. “Giving them that friendly ‘five’ or a ‘high-five,’ that is so important to a child to start the day off right.”
At Highlawn Elementary, the doors opened up around 7:30 am, but about 20 kids were already lined up and eager to see their friends.
Two people who are very special to the Cabell County Schools work at Highlawn Elementary: T.C. Clemons and Lionel Hope.
“Oh, it’s going to be a great day because I have the best kids in all of Cabell County, and it always happens like that,” said Clemons.
“It’s a challenge,” said Hope. “I love it.”
Hope has worked at Highlawn for a decade and he’s this year’s “Service Employee of the Year.”
The award was a surprise, he says, but putting a smile on the faces of students is Hope’s passion.
“[It’s] priceless,” said Hope. “You can’t put a price tag on it, you can’t.
Then there’s 4th grade teacher T.C. Clemons. She’s starting her 26th year as a teacher at Highlawn and is a finalist for the “West Virginia State Teacher of the Year Award.” Clemons is also “Highlawn Elementary’s Teacher of the Year,” and “Cabell County’s Teacher of the Year.”
“What I do is what I do,” said Clemons. “It’s not to receive anything in return, it’s what I was called to do.”
And it’s apparent that her class is in good hands.
“Parents can rest assured that when their kids come to school at Highlawn, we are family.”
Clemons will find out if she wins the “West Virginia State Teacher of the Year Award” at a banquet in September.
What’s truly remarkable about her story is that she’s also a breast cancer survivor.
Clemons went through treatment 10 years ago and still came to school every day ready to teach and proud of her appearance – telling her students they should be proud of themselves no matter what.