HATTIESBURG, MISS. - Two lucky Pine Belt teachers receive a classroom makeover Tuesday morning, courtesy of First Bank.
Employees from First Bank surprised Taylor Huddleston, a first-grade teacher at Thames Elementary School with a $500 check to help her with a classroom makeover. Huddleston entered First Bank’s contest for a “classroom makeover” earlier during the school year, and mentioned she did not expect to win.
“I was so surprised because when I applied for this, I had no clue that I was going to get it,” Huddleston said. “I’m just so happy.”
Another six miles down the road, a special education teacher at Oak Grove Primary School named Nicole Neal received the same surprise.
“It’s still like hitting me,” Neal said. “It was a big surprise. I wasn’t expecting it.”
Huddleston and Neal both received nominations for a contest taking place on First Bank’s Facebook page. After being nominated, supportive comments flowed in justifying why both of them should receive the award.
“She [both Huddleston and Neal] want the children to feel like they matter,” Sharon Rice, First Bank’s Mortgage division president said. “Those are the things that parents said about her [Huddleston and Neal].”
Huddleston emotional after the surprise, expressed her gratitude for being recognized by the community and First Bank.
“It’s just nice to know that people notice what you are doing… y’all are going to make me cry,” Huddleston said. “It’s a lot of work and a lot of time, so to be noticed is a really big deal.”
Neal also took time to thank First Bank for their generous donation, as she spoke about a special calling on her life, to educate children with special needs.
“Special E.D [education] is really dear to my heart,” Neal said. “So, my kids will be really excited to have this opportunity, and thank you.”
First Bank will select two more contest winners in December. Those winners will come from Lincoln and Lawrence counties.