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Roberta Axson's Generous Gift for Teacher Appreciation

Roberta Axson, whose godmother was a member of the retired educators organization who passed away, wanted to do something profoundly special for those teachers of Baldwin County whom her godmother served. So, Baldwin County Board Chair Dr. Gloria Wicker distributed checks from Ms. Axson to two teachers in the district, one veteran and one new, in honor of her Godmother, Gloria D. Reaves.

In a statement about the scholarship, Axson wrote: "Starting a self-care scholarship for teachers is essential to ensure educators can prioritize their well-being and mental health. Teachers often face high levels of stress and burnout due to long working hours, low pay, and lack of support, which can negatively impact their ability to teach effectively. By providing financial assistance for self-care practices, teachers can learn to manage stress and improve their overall health, leading to improved job satisfaction and, ultimately, better student educational outcomes. Investing in teacher self-care is not only a way to support the well-being of our educators, but it also contributes to the overall success of our educational system. Self-care means taking the time to do things that help you live well by improving or maintaining optimal physical and mental health. My Godmother, Gloria D. Reaves, helped me understand that. As an educator, she used awareness, wisdom, and maternal love to nurture me through various challenges in my life. She taught me to prioritize myself, rest, replenish, and recover. She wanted to ensure that I knew I was important, as are others in this educational profession. For this reason, the Gloria D. Reaves Self-Care Scholarship was established in her honor for those who tirelessly pour out their knowledge, skills, experience, and love to students of all ages."

Dr. Wicker explained that Axson gave the two teachers, James Bell, the chorus director at Oak Hill, and Tasha Charleston, a teacher at Midway Hills Academy, each a check for $250. In her note to the teachers, Axson wrote, "This is for your use. You're not to spend it on any child, but thank you for being a teacher." Dr. Wicker expressed her admiration for Axson's dedication to education, saying, "She became an educator following in her godmother's footsteps, and it's just been uphill for her ever since."

What makes this story even more special is Axson's personal journey. She got pregnant at age 14 and faced many challenges. However, her godmother helped her along the way. Axson went on to become an educator and writer, following in her godmother's footsteps.

Many thanks to Axson's newly established 'self-care scholarship' and all that she's done to help our educators live fuller lives.

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