Kids party for state Teacher of Year finalist

Valley Elementary School physical education teacher Ginger Aaron, left, is honored in front of the entire student body on May 1. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Valley Elementary School physical education teacher Ginger Aaron, left, is honored in front of the entire student body on May 1. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Hundreds of Valley Elementary School students cheered at the top of their lungs as Blue Bell Ice Cream representative Quin Coker lifted the top off the Styrofoam cooler to reveal four half-gallons of “Millennium Crunch” ice cream on May 1.

“We’ve learned some things about Ms. (Ginger) Aaron, and we know this is her favorite ice cream,” Coker said as he presented the cooler to Aaron. “And this afternoon, we are going to have ice cream for all of you (students).”

Coker’s surprise presentation came at the beginning of the school’s celebration of the nationwide All Children Exercising Simultaneously event, during which every VES student gathered in the school’s outdoor play area to exercise to dance music.

The presentation came about a month after Aaron was named as one of the “Sweet 16” finalists for the Alabama Department of Education’s Teacher of the Year award. Aaron was not included in the top-four finalists for the state award, but VES students, teachers and administrators spent May 1 celebrating Aaron’s recognition as one of the top teachers in Alabama.

In addition to the morning presentation during the ACES event, the school also held an afternoon parade through the halls in Aaron’s honor.

“This is a great accomplishment by Ms. Aaron,” Coker said. “She is a great teacher. She has to be to get this kind of award.”

Before she made the Sweet 16 list, Aaron, a physical education teacher at the school, was also named the VES and Shelby County Schools teacher of the year, and was previously named the State Physical Education Teacher of the Year.

Aaron, who has been teaching at VES for the past 12 years, was the only Shelby County teacher listed on the Sweet 16 list.

“I am so excited. This is a great day,” VES Principal Dr. Deborah Scarbrough said during the presentation. “The whole state picked Ms. Ginger Aaron, and she was one of the 16 finalists for the Alabama Teacher of the Year.

“That’s something that’s just amazing. We are so proud of her,” Scarbrough added.