Editorial: Three cheers

Nov. 08, 2013 @ 11:31 PM

Credit to the teachers

Thursday afternoon it was announced that the state of Tennessee had made great strides in the rankings of the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

In fact, Tennessee students’ combined growth on all four tests in 2013 calculations exceeded the growth of all other states. 

Of course, both political parties claimed their policies caused the dramatic improvement.

“We’ve asked a lot of our teachers and students, and they have delivered; they deserve the thanks for this progress,” Governor Bill Haslam’s State Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said. “Dramatically improving results for kids is hard work, but this is what hard work can do.”

Moments later Tennessee Democrats responded by press release, crediting the improvements to moves former Governor Phil Bredesen made in 2010.

It’s hard to tell which bureaucrat deserves credit, but one thing is for sure — most of Tennessee’s teachers are putting in hard work, time and effort to improve our children’s future. If anyone beyond the students themselves deserve credit, it’s them.

Postseason berths much deserved

Congratulations to Sevier County high school football teams that earned sought-after playoff berths this season.

The Sevier County Smoky Bears, Gatlinburg-Pittman Highlanders and Pigeon Forge Tigers each fought hard all season and were rewarded with postseason appearances last night.

The Bears continued their dominance over the Inter-Mountain Athletic Conference, District 2-AAA, where they’ve won the title every year since 2009. Only one loss, in a tough matchup against Maryville, marred their 9-1 record.

The Highlanders, at 8-2, battled to their best regular-season — by wins and losses — since 2009. Coach Benny Hammonds’ reunited staff earned some impressive victories along the way.

Finally, Pigeon Forge — 5-5 under first-year head coach Scott Meadows — earned just their second playoff spot since 2005.

A team with a roster full of question marks before the season, the Tigers overcame obstacles and out-performed many expectations.

Legacies honored

Sevierville Chamber of Commerce posthumously honored two unforgettable citizens Thursday with the sixth annual John Sevier Awards. Josephine Thomas Burchfiel and Jack Cook were honored at the Sevierville Visitors Center in the presentation.

The pair’s impact “will be long felt,” Brenda McCroskey, the chamber’s director, said.

Burchfiel, a direct descendant of Sevier County’s first white settler, and Cook, who moved to Sevierville in 1998, were both big contributors to the area, according to McCroskey.

Burchfiel was a member of the First United Methodist Church, the Manthano Club and the Emily Thomas Circle, who devoted vast amounts of time to both her family and church.

Despite being a newcomer to the area, Cook dove in head first with many charitable organizations in the area and made his presence felt quickly.

Events such as the John Sevier Awards are a vital part of a community. Not entirely for the honor it provides the family of the deceased, but for the model of good citizenship it promotes for those still living.