Teacher Appreciation

Providence holds annual back-to-school lunch

by Celia Shortt

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Western Elementary school teachers enjoy their back-to-school lunch at Providence Baptist Church.

Providence Baptist Church held its annual back-toschool lunch for staff and teachers at Western Elementary School on Thursday.

'They have always been very involved and gracious with anything we've needed,' said Rebecca Bowman, a teacher at Western Elementary for the past six years. 'I love the lunch and look forward to it.'

The ba c k- to - s c hool lunch began about 12 years ago. Cheryl Sheppard, former teacher and assistant principal at Western, is the head of kitchen for the event and has been with it since the beginning.

'We just love the fellowship,' she said. 'This is a good time to learn about the teachers, and it's good to have an informal time of fellowship and getting to know them.'

Providence's support of Western Elementary is more than one lunch every year. The church regularly provides school supplies, clothing for students, coffee for the break room or anything else the school or the teachers need.

'We consider Western Elementary our community school,' said Ken Norton, pastor of Providence Baptist. 'Anything that Western needs, we help them with it.'

Western Elementary School Principal Denise Pigatt appreciates all that Providence does for the school and the community.

'Providence is a partner with us, ' she said. 'They come in and help us with anything we need. The church is an integral part of the community and extension of Western. We are just so appreciative of them and all that they do. We look forward to this lunch every year.'

'They feed us well,' said assistant principal Stan McMichael. 'We always get good food, and they provide help for teachers in whatever they need.'

'All I ever have to do is pick up the phone and say this is what we need, this is what the families need,' said Crysti Nix, counselor at Western Elementary. 'It's a great support system and resource for the school.'

Providence also holds a weekly after-school program on Tuesdays for the kids at the school.

It includes snacks, singing and lessons from the Bible. It takes about 26 volunteers each week to put on the program. Members and businesses in the community also donate snacks, water, and other items.

'To me and this church, it's one of the most important things we do for the kids,' said Jill Elder coordinator of the after school program and secretary at Providence Baptist Church. 'If we can't get them here to church, we'll take the church to them.'

Western Elementary and other Coweta County schools start the 2013-14 school year on Tuesday.



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