By Clairissa Cooper
Flower Mound teens rolled out the proverbial red carpet for some well-deserving teachers this week.
Students paid tribute to more than 40 influential teachers at the 12th annual teacher appreciation dinner hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Students presented their teachers with flowers and treated them to a banquet dinner, complete with a program, music, slideshow, and dessert.
The teachers represented a variety of areas in the students’ lives including educators from Lewisville ISD, private schools, dance instructors, coaches, and church mentors.
Among those honored was a first-grade teacher from Wellington Elementary School, Lynn Murphy, who is in her final year of teaching after educating students for 29 years. She was invited by McKamy Middle School sixth grader John Mangleson, who reflected on his time with Murphy five years ago.
John was the new kid in school, his family having moved from Virginia that summer. He was nervous and didn’t want to go, but after about a week in Murphy’s classroom, everything changed and John looked forward to school.
“The classroom was a safe and happy place and I knew Mrs. Murphy cared about us,” said Mangleson. “She was kind to us and made us laugh. I’ve always been grateful for her influence.”
“You never know what kind of impression you’ve really made and to be invited to something like this is really fulfilling,” said Murphy.
Kyle Hart, an eighth grader at Shadow Ridge Middle School, honored his choir director, Brittni Kelly, whom he’s been taught by for three years.
“You are kind, patient, fun, and you expect the best from us,” stated Hart in his tribute.
Mark Johnson, lay clergyman for the Flower Mound 1st Ward, spoke of the small and simple things teachers do that make them heroic.
“As you are serving and teaching, you have opportunities to minister to these youth on a one-on-one basis,” said Johnson. “By lifting up a young man or young woman and taking extra time to understand, you make a difference. Thank you for all that you do.”
Amanda Yancey, a senior at Flower Mound High School, invited her sophomore chemistry teacher Leslie Gibson, and said because of her encouragement, she is pursing education as a career.
“She said that I would make an amazing teacher and I knew right at that moment that’s what I wanted to do,” said Yancey. “Because of her encouragement, I want to be just like her and also encourage students one day.”
The event included youth, ages 12-18, from three congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ in Flower Mound.