Online Originals: Craven County honors Teacher of the Year with surprise gift

New Bern

 
NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — Arnita Morris teaches eighth-grade math at HJ MacDonald Middle School in Craven County. She’s also the county’s Teacher of the Year.

“I’m feeling overwhelmed, just very happy, just humbled to represent my school and my county,” says Morris.  

Craven County honored her Wednesday with the Teacher of the Year award.  Superintendent Meghan Doyle says Morris’ dedication towards her students is one of the main reasons she is worthy of this honor. 

“First of all, she is determined, every single day, to meet students where they are and take them to the highest highs they can reach as students,” says Doyle. 

Morris received a one year lease on a Toyota as part of the award. 

“I’m super excited to have a car, a new Camry. It’s so fancy, my kids are going to love it, too. I’m really just grateful to represent the county,” says Morris. 

Paul McDonald with Toyota of New Bern gave her the keys to the new car. He said it’s an honor to provide the car because teachers often have to dip into their own funds to provide what students need in the classroom for a better education. 

“Teaching is not just about the books, it’s about life,” McDonald said. “We entrust these teachers when we send our kids out to not just teach them what five plus five is. They teach them about life. About structure. And they do that.”  

Morris has a message to all the students facing challenges this year. 

“Every student deserves an opportunity to learn, whether they are behind, whether they need to be challenged … just for them to communicate what they need next year as we’re going back to school and just trying to get ready for that, and for them to stay focused so we can get to the end of the school year and rock out our ELGs.”  

Doyle said she wants to thank all the Craven County staff that helped students through this pandemic.  

“We could have not done everything that we did for our students if it were not for our educators like Ms. Morris and every 1,000 educators, and support staff, and custodians, our bus staff, teacher assistants, custodians, nurses … we would not have been able to do this work had they not been able to commit to our children, ” Doyle said.  

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