Tyler's teachers were praised for their influence on students and the future during an event Tuesday at Rice Elementary School.
The event, which was hosted by Tyler ISD and Mayor Barbara Bass, was in recognition of National Teacher Appreciation Week. Audience members applauded as speakers touted teachers for their work.
Rice Elementary fifth-grader Jasmine Altamirano welcomed attendees, and some fifth-grade students then gave their take on "What makes a great teacher."
Addison Palmer said great teachers "make you feel like you are the most special kid around."
Qudarian McMiller said great teachers "reward you for a job well done," "like to have fun and make learning fun" "and above all, a really great teacher will let you be you."
"Thank you teachers for all you do for us, and even though we may not act like it at times, we do appreciate you," he said.
Mayor Bass told students that in elementary school and growing up, she had some great teachers, which helped her become the person she is now.
"They taught me how to learn, and they gave me a lot of opportunities to learn. They helped me learn how to read, and they helped me learn how to study, and they introduced me to subjects that I would never have even known about if it weren't for my great teachers," she said.
Mayor Bass also proclaimed Tuesday as National Teacher Day in Tyler. The proclamation was accepted by 2014 Rice Elementary Teacher of the Year Nancy Sivertson, and cookies were then presented for Rice Elementary teachers. The cookies were accompanied by balloons and labeled with the phrase, "Tyler Loves Our Teachers."
Rice Elementary Principal Shelly Bosley encouraged everyone to thank a teacher and show appreciation "because teachers definitely impact the future." She also challenged teachers to be great teachers, as students described.
Rice Elementary First Grade Teacher Keri McIntosh said after the ceremony that to her, National Teacher Appreciation Week means, "It's not about me."
"It's about kind of coming together as a community and as a school and appreciating each other, but it should be every day. So it's not about just really people appreciating me. It's about me appreciating all the teachers at my school," she said.
Ms. Sivertson said, "The subject you teach really doesn't make a difference. It's the passion you have for that subject and your ability to convey to your students that passion also, and I think most teachers — that's the way they feel. They're really wanting to get their kids excited about their subject matter."
Tyler ISD Superintendent Gary Mooring said Tyler is fortunate to have "the best teachers available that impact students' lives."