Shepherdstown Elementary School Head Teacher Cheryl Lawrence was awarded the Distinguished Mountaineer, distinction in a surprise ceremony held last Friday morning.
The award was presented by Joy Lewis, regional representative for Governor Earl Ray Tomblin along with Del. Tiffany Lawrence, Cheryl's daughter.
Lawrence, who will retire at the end of this school year, was honored for her 43 years of service in the Jefferson County school system.
A Jefferson County native, Lawrence grew up in Summit Point, West Virginia.
At Friday's presentation she recounted her experience first joining the staff at Shepherdstown Elementary, where shes worked primarily with grade five students.
According to information provided by the Joy Lewis, Lawrence's past honors and accomplishments are numerous. She is a past Shepherdstown Elementary Association Treasurer, was named "Outstanding Young Educator" in Jefferson County in 1981, and was twice named "Teacher of the Year," at Shepherdstown Elementary School.
Lawrence she helped initiate the school's first science fair.
She's also helped organize book fairs, fifth grade graduation, "Red Bud Festival White Elephant" sale, "Fun Night Halloween" celebration, "Wolfgang" candy sales, the American Heart Association's "Jump Rope for Heart," and the WVU "Cardiac Kids" programs.
She has been a member of the West Virginia Education Association and the Jefferson County Education Association throughout her teaching career and currently serves on the JCEA Executive Committee and as an Association Representative.
Lawrence taught and served as a coordinator for community education classes for Jefferson County, served as a facilitator for the governor's summer institute for teachers.
Lawrence made tearful remarks upon receiving the "Distinguished Mountaineer" award on Friday.
"Not only the school, but the community just wrapped their arms around me," she said of her tenure at Shepherdstown Elementary.
"This is a wonderful place to be."
Cheryl's daughter, Tiffany Lawrence also spoke Friday, acknowledging her mother's major role in the school's community of faculty and staff.
"I know my mom leaving is going to leave a hole, but I'm hoping you all fill it with love and support," she said.