Alabaster Education Association awards $4,000 in scholarships

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Several Alabaster students and teachers earned thousands of dollars in scholarships from the Alabaster City Education Foundation during the organization’s year-end banquet at Thompson High School on April 25.

Each year, the ACEA, which is a local affiliate of the Alabama Education Association, awards several scholarships to teachers and high school seniors who are continuing their education.

To qualify for the essay-based scholarships, applicants must be members of ACEA or the dependent of an ACEA member.

ACEA has been presenting the scholarships since forming in 2013 alongside the Alabaster City School System.

During the banquet, the Association presented $1,000 checks to Thompson High School special education teacher Cheryl Flaucher and Creek View Elementary School second-grade teacher Stephanie Cochran. THS seniors Leah Warman, daughter of THS Assistant Principal Drew Warman, and Jackson Thomas Holdbrooks, daughter of THS teacher Michelle Holdbrooks, also received $1,000 scholarships apiece.

The banquet also served to recognize ACEA members who are retiring at the end of this school year: Thompson High School employees Drew Warman, Junior ROTC Sgt. Dee Terrell and Melanie Moore, Thompson Middle School teacher Ruth Ettinger and Creek View Elementary School teacher Donna Martin.

ACEA leaders also recognized the school system’s teachers of the year, all of who are ACEA members: Debbie DeCroes from THS, Ron Munday from TMS, Amber Willis from Thompson Sixth Grade Center, Matt Wilson from Thompson Intermediate School, Lindsey Thigpen from Meadow View Elementary School and Stephanie Cochran from CVES.

Before the awards, the ACEA heard from Montgomery-based education blogger Larry Lee, who encouraged the teachers and retirees to take an active role in determining the future of the state’s public school systems.

“I truly believe that those who have spent their lives in education are doing the good Lord’s work,” Lee said. “A lot of the folks in Montgomery who make laws just can’t relate to that. If I was the czar of Alabama, I would make it a requirement for every legislator to be a teacher’s aide in a high-poverty classroom.

“Nobody is serving as the voice of education in Alabama,” he added. “Be that voice. Our public education system is under attack, and we need you more than we ever have in the past.”