As the mid-morning sun struggled to break through the cloudy skies, a whirl of blue fabric and the sounds of a bass drum filled the parking lot at Whidby Elementary School.
As LaShunda Robinson walked through the front doors of the school, a parade broke out with Chief Human Resources Officer Julia Dimmitt leading the way as twirlers, band members, cheerleaders, and other students from Whidby trailed behind.
The parade was to honor Robinson as the April Achieve 180 Dedicated Associate Teacher of the Month.
“I am without words,” Robinson said as the parade passed her by. “And that doesn’t happen very often.”
The associate teacher, who has been at the school for three years, grew up in the surrounding neighborhood in south Houston. In fact, she even attended Whidby Elementary herself as a child.
“I really love it because this is the neighborhood I grew up in,” Robinson said. “Not only am I giving back, but I’m working with kids and challenging them to be great, to be successful. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”
That dedication and commitment are characteristics that have also been attributed to Grace Highsmith, who was named the Associate Teacher of the Month for April at Hobby Elementary School. The school’s principal, Dimitrie Rainey, pointed out that Highsmith has not missed a single day this school year—despite the ongoing pandemic.
This role is new to Highsmith, who left the oil and gas industry just a year ago. She said the challenges of this particular year have shown her that she can face anything in the years ahead.
“I figured this was the perfect year because it’s going to test me. I wanted to make sure during this year that’s difficult—the year of flexibility—that I could handle what’s thrown at me,” Highsmith said.
But as someone who came to teaching as a second career, she has one piece of advice for others.
“Don’t waste your time on waiting. If you want to [be a teacher], do it. I wish I would have done this when I graduated college,” she said. “I love it.”
The two recognition programs are sponsored by Raising Cane’s. Each selected teacher receives a gift basket filled with merchant gift cards and promotional items. To nominate an Associate or Achieve 180 Dedicated Associated Teacher of the Month, click here.