Jan 27, 2011 11:42 PM by Maddie Garrett
Teachers stepped out of the classroom and onto the red carpet Thursday night for the 13th annual Lafayette Education Foundation Teacher Awards. The Oscar-style ceremony took place at the Heymann Performing Arts Center to honor and recognize the teachers in Lafayette Parish.
"It's really neat to be made over like this because we go and we do our job, and all of sudden now to be in the lime light, I don't know, it's kind of awe inspiring," said Jenny Felder, a nominee from Acadiana High School.
Over 1,500 nomination letters came in from parents, students and fellow teachers. Amber Leblanc nominated her 11th grade English teacher Matt Canone.
"He's really inspired me to read a lot of different things and he's just an overall great teacher," she said.
Out of hundreds of teachers, 16 finalists were chosen for four categories: Elementary, Middle and High School as well as Inspirational. They teach in all subjects and grades, but they all do it for the same reason.
"To watch them get the whole concept, it's important and I love it, I love what I do," explained Felder.
Dr. Gerald Carlson, President of the Board for LEF said it's not easy picking the four winners.
"This is just a drop in the bucket. We've got so many fabulous teachers out there, I just wish every one of them could be up there on the stage tonight," said Carlson.
Each of the 16 finalists were introduced and recognized one-by-one on the stage during the awards ceremony. The event was just one way say "thank you" to the people who sometimes don't here that simple phrase often enough.
"I really think teachers need to be acknowledged more and recognized for what they do," said Leblanc.
Each of the finalists received a $1,000 stipend and the four winners received an additional $1,500 on top of that.
Here are the winners for the 2011 LEF Teacher Awards:
Elementary Category: Charla Mercier, Woodvale Elem.
Middle School Category: Dawn Gary, Youngsville MS
High School Category: Lisa Ranney, Comeaux HS
Inspirational Category: Susan Keller, Westminster Christian Academy.