“I love our students and our staff and I wanted them to feel good for the amazing things they do each day,” Burgin said. “Also, as the librarian I always have students and teachers telling me about all the great things happening around the school and I thought it was important for their stories to be shared. I also think it is essential to show the positive things happening in the school because it encourages others to want to do the same kinds of things and boosts morale around the school.”
After receiving nominations from both students and staff, Burgin took a photo of each “superhero” wearing a cape, then posted those pictures, along with excerpts from their nominations to a bulletin board in the library. Some received multiple nominations.
“I would like to nominate Makayla Cardwell because she was very welcoming when I came to Henry County. I didn’t know anyone and she made me feel like I belonged,” read one nomination.
Spanish teacher Courtney Willis was nominated several times.
“Mrs. Willis because she goes above and beyond doing her job as a teacher and has an individual relationship with each student. She goes out of her way to do things for others, and she is the most selfless person I have ever met.”
Another nomination for Willis said, “…she cares so much about her students’ struggles and accomplishments. I always look forward to telling her good news I have. Plus she deals with freshmen, so give her extra brownie points for that!”
Another nomination was directed at Jaden Hay. “He spends a great deal of hours working with children in our class as a peer tutor. He even gives them his cell number in case they need help.”
Custodian Larry Phillips received four nominations. “Larry, because he does a lot for his job and does a lot for the school and takes care of the lunchroom.” “He is forever smiling when we go to lunch, no matter what kind of day he is having.”
Another nomination said that Haylie Davidson is the “most friendly and understanding girl” in the school. “One time when she barely knew me she gave me her shirt because I spilled something on mine and everyone was laughing at me.”
The bulletin board is covered in similar stories, all accompanied by pictures of the nominees in their capes. Burgin said both students and staff enjoy reading the personal narratives, and many are humbled or even surprised to learn of their own nominations and who designated them for the honor.
“I have had teachers come to me shocked at who nominated them because they thought that particular student did not notice the things the teacher had done for them,” Burgin said.
But those good deeds have not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by the overly full bulletin board. Burgin said she hopes to accept nominations twice a year to continue recognizing those individuals who contribute in a positive way to the atmosphere of the school.