TEXARKANA, Texas -- A former Texarkana Independent School District Teacher is receiving an accolade of a lifetime from her peers.
In an afternoon ceremony Monday, former Texas High School teacher Monica Washington was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. The ceremony was a surprise to Washington, who was expecting a gathering but was unsure of the reason
Dr. Ralph Draper, executive director of the National Teachers Hall of Fame board, informed Washington of her inclusion to the honored group with a speech.
"Today is a very special day for Texas High School. As all of you know so well, teachers help shape who and what we are, because of their hard work and caring spirit and diligence is the reason students can so easily think of teachers who have made an amazing difference in their lives," Draper said.
Draper said Washington, a 20-year teaching veteran, will be remembered by students for years to come for helping students chart a path to success.
Upon hearing the announcement, Washington's jaw dropped as the audience stood for applause.
"My heart is beating about 230 beats a minute. I am overwhelmed," Washington said. "Who I am is due to family, due to friends. Who I am as an educator is due to teaching beside some of the best educators I have ever worked with who are passionate, creative, funny amazing human beings."
Washington is the seventh teacher from Texas to receive the honor and is in the 31st class of inductees. She also received the Texas Teacher of the Year award in 2014, along with the Special Achievement Award from the Texarkana NAACP in the same year.
She is an NEA Foundation Board member and chairs the NEA Teacher Advisory Committee. She also co-chairs the Leading the Profession Committee for the Texas State Teachers Association.
"There will be hard days, there will be frustrating days, but there is no other profession that is this rewarding. Stay true to who you are and always center your students and their experiences. It's not about the content, your math or English or science that you teach; it's about the human beings in your class who are trusting you to take care of them," Washington said.
Washington and four other teachers will attend a banquet and ceremony in June in Emporia, Kansas.