Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Nicole Smith, Teen Leadership teacher at Lakeview Middle School, found out today she is the winner of a four-day, five-night Caribbean cruise from Bojangles as part of its May Teacher Appreciation Month promotion.
Ms. Smith, the only South Carolina teacher to receive the prize, was awarded the cruise during a surprise ceremony at the school. Presenting her the cruise was Ken Reynolds, Director of Field Marketing for Bojangles.
Ms. Smith was nominated by a student at Lakeview Middle School who said in her nomination: “Ms. Smith is an amazing teacher. She has been a huge support system throughout my seventh and eighth grade school years. I don't know where I would be without her guidance. I've become a better student and a better person because of her.”
“I’ve always wanted to go on a cruise, but I’ve never had the opportunity to do so,” said Ms. Smith. “When I heard my name called, I thought, did someone enter my name into a contest that I wasn’t aware of? This is a total shock and surprise to me!”
Smith believes it is important to let students know that while she is in charge of the classroom, she also wants them to understand she can come down to their level and meet them where they are. “I would say to my students, always stay positive. They have the power within themselves, they are the captain of their own ship, and they will determine where the ship ends up,” said Smith.
Last May, Bojangles invited students, parents and past students to honor teachers with online tributes at the website of SC Future Minds, the non-profit that connects private support to public schools in South Carolina.
Ms. Smith was selected at random to win the cruise. Past winners from across the state have included teachers from Chesterfield, Johnsonville and Lexington.
“At Bojangles, we believe in giving back to the communities we serve, and we’re proud to partner with South Carolina Future Minds to continue honoring hard-working educators during South Carolina Teacher Appreciation Month,” said Bojangles President and CEO Clifton Rutledge. “We have all experienced the positive impact of a caring and committed teacher, so we’re honored to play even a small part in supporting their efforts.”