By Katherine Parker
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Northeast Baptist Church honored Eisenhower Elementary teachers with an appreciation banquet early Tuesday night.
Northeast Baptist Church Pastor Ed Sasnett said the church wanted to be there for teachers throughout the school year and the banquet was just the beginning to thank Eisenhower teachers for all of their work.
Music teacher Carrie Werkman and reading specialist Sarah Maddock both said when the annual appreciation banquet started last year, they did not know what to expect and were amazed.
“All of the little details like the centerpieces and the food — I was really amazed and so thankful last year. This year is no different,” Maddock said.
The event began with a prayer by Sasnett thanking teachers for their abilities to minister to students by caring for their needs.
A meal prepared by Northeast Baptist Church youth pastor Elvis Peacock was next, complete with drawings for door prizes that included pencils, glue, Clorox wipes and other school supplies.
School supply request forms were placed on the table for teachers.
Werkman said she was so grateful for the school supplies the church provided and that without the supplies, she would probably have to spend her own money on them.
“Last year, I didn’t know what to ask for, so I just listed a lot of different things and the church got me every single item I listed,” Werkman said. “I received this big box of supplies in December and just couldn’t believe the church was able to give me so much.”
School counselor Connie Doss said that beyond the banquet, Northeast Baptist Church helps Eisenhower by working as test proctors and carnival volunteers, providing a snow cone party at the end of the year and encouraging teachers to take part in the church’s prayer program.
Teachers can sign up with the church’s prayer program and be paired with a prayer partner who will bring the teacher’s prayer wishes to the church. Sasnett said last year, the church would pray for teachers every Wednesday, and he hoped it would continue to make a difference.
“About every week, I’d get an email from my prayer partner asking if I had a prayer request, and I’d just feel this relief knowing someone else was thinking about my week’s worries,” Werkman said.
Sasnett acknowledged that everyone, everywhere is equal in time, but the time teachers give to students is unique. That is what drove the church to start an appreciation banquet.
“There will always be something to do in and for the classroom, but there comes a time when you need to make time for yourself, your family and God,” Sasnett said. “I believe with God, you (teachers) will have enough time to accomplish everything you need to for your students.”
At the end of the banquet, Connie Doss expressed her thanks from Eisenhower to Northeast Baptist Church, and the teachers in attendance concurred with applause. Many teachers said they could not wait for next year’s banquet.
“I really look forward to this night and am so grateful to the church,” Maddock said.