Chamber announces educational awards

Published 8:14 pm Friday, January 9, 2015

The Andalusia Chamber of Commerce will recognize two teachers of the year and a student of the year at its annual banquet, set for Jan. 29.



Pleasant Home Elementary teacher Lucretica Hawkins was named elementary teacher of the year.

Hawkins teaches second grade. In her four years as a teacher, she’s taught fourth grade at Andalusia Elementary, sixth grade at PHS, and is in her second year as a second grade teacher.

“She is outstanding in all aspects of her job,” wrote principal Rodney Nichols in his letter of support. “She is always willing and ready to give additional assistance to struggling students, as well as deliver enrichment to those who need advancement. “

He also wrote that she is a team player who is always willing to work on projects.

“She maintains a level of efficiency that is fueled by her obvious work ethic and her professional concern for her students’ progress,” he said. “No time is wasted in her class.”

She also had letters of support from PHS instructional coach Connie Karthaus and pastor Bill Pritchett.

Hawkins earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Troy University in 2009. She is active in Southside Baptist Church, where she teaches Sunday School and GAs. She has four children involved in sports and music.




Red Level High School’s Jennifer Withrow is the secondary teacher of the year.

Withrow teaches ninth and 10th grade language arts, and previously worked with the Jobs for Alabama Grads (JAG) program at Straughn.

At Red Level, she serves as sponsor of the freshman and sophomore classes, and sponsors the student council. In 2011, at the request of students, she started the RLHS Revelers drama program.

“We have grown to more than 50 members out of a 275-member student body,” she said. Since the group formed, it has had a two-act production, two haunted houses and a drama camp.

“Being an educator is not a job – it is a calling that I take very seriously,” she said. “I feel that our children are literally the future of our nation and that my job as a teacher is that of mentor and advisor, as well.”

Withrow had letters of support from her principal, Johny Odom; school librarian Jane Flippo; and Kim Carter of Covington Electric.

“Mrs. Withrow always encourages people to be their very best, regardless of race, religion or social stature, which I find very inspiring,” Carter, who works with her through Character @ Heart, wrote. “Her students already know what it means to be a productive member of the community because she leads them by example.”

She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English language arts education at Troy University.

She is a member of the state and national Teachers of English organization; is the coordinator of the Character @ Heart program at RLHS; and the Covington County Relay for Life team.



Andalusia High School senior Sarah Atkinson was named student of the year.

At present, Atkinson is class president; chairs the school’s Relay for Life effort; is subdeb club president; and is flute section leader. She has represented AHS at Girls State and at Harding Leadership Forum, and was a delegate to the International Key Club convention. She has been voted Class Favorite and Best-All Around.

She plays varsity tennis; is in the marching and concert bands; a member of the yearbook staff, Spanish Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes; SGA; student leadership team; Usher Club; Anchor Club; Key Club; and National Honor Society. She also has been a peer tutor, and is a Diamond Doll.

She plans to study at Auburn University, where she will pursue an undergraduate degree in PR and communications and a master’s in education.

“After college, I would love to come back to Andalusia and work and raise my family,” she said. “Nothing would make me happier than to come back to this wonderful community and give back some of what it has given me. I just love my little town!”

She is City of Andalusia Youth Ambassador, and is active at First United Methodist Church where she is a children’s church leader. She also has participated in two missions trips to an orphanage in Honduras. She serves as junior director for Meredith’s Miracles’ annual Cookies with Characters.

She received letters of support from AHS teacher Sara Mixson; Jerri Stroud; and fellow student Taran Carrasco.