WAYNE — The first day of in-person instruction was anything but normal for Wayne Elementary School music teacher Sheri Tadlock.
After a week of teaching virtually due a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in Wayne County, Tadlock finally had students back in her music classroom this week. The sound of first-graders banging on drums was quite literally music to her ears on the first day students were in the building since March, but she was also greeted with another special gift.
Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick surprised Tadlock on a virtual Zoom call to present her with $1,000 in Michaels gift cards, on behalf of the College Football Playoff Foundation, to thank her for her tireless work as students return to school this year.
“Sheri has, and always has had, an excellent music program and she is more than deserving of this award. This was a way to recognize teachers in our community whether they are in the arts or any other subject,” Wayne Elementary Principal Melissa Maynard said.
The gift presentation was part of “Extra Yard for Teachers” week, or EYFT, a nationwide celebration of teachers led by the CFP Foundation within the platform of college football.
Created in 2015, EYFT Week provides an opportunity for universities, coaches and student-athletes to take part in its mission of elevating the teaching profession through inspiring and empowering teachers, as well as creating awareness for the growing EYFT platform.
The presentation occurred on what was deemed the “Big Day,” the largest single-day effort of community impact ever undertaken by the extended college football family.
“I grew up in a family of educators, and you have no idea the appreciation that I have, personally, for teachers,” said Hamrick. “This initiative has put over $5,000 into our local teachers in Cabell County and Wayne [County], but because of the outstanding teacher you are and the way you care for your students and want to see your community grow, you have been chosen.”
Tadlock said she plans to use the gift cards to purchase supplies at Michaels for upcoming community projects she plans to do with her students, which she has done in previous years but always paid for out-of-pocket.
“I think it’s great that they are able to use sports to recognize teachers. Being a music teacher, you’d never think to be recognized like this,” said Tadlock.
“When we get to perform, it will come in handy for costuming; my after-school program will be able to use it for supplies for community projects like painting pumpkins and other crafts that we deliver to places like the Hospice House, Wayne Nursing home or Ronald McDonald House,” she added.
More than 150 partners across the country were expected to participate in the CFP Foundation’s initiative.
“We are proud of America’s teachers and honored that college football is in a position to support them in so many ways,” said CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock.
The CFP Foundation is the largest sports entity supporting K-12 education in America. More than $4 million in grants, direct aid and desperately needed resources are slated to be awarded to teachers and educators on the “Big Day.”
“We need teachers more than ever right now,” said CFP Foundation Executive Director Britton Banowsky. “They represent the single-most important factor in a student’s success and their commitment to educating our kids during this challenging time is to be admired and commended.”
Luke Creasy is a reporter for HD Media. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook
@HDcreasy or reach him by phone at 304-526-2800.