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Thursday, Sep 21, 2017
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Teachers cheer in a new school year

PLANT CITY - After a quarter-century of trying, the Raiders finally brought home the top prize. Plant City High's new faculty members for the first time won a trophy awarded annually to the school that has the best cheer at the New Teacher Coffee. Principal Colleen Richardson was all smiles. "We just have a very spirited group of teachers," Richardson said.
A little more than 200 teachers and administrators who are new to Plant City area schools were welcomed Thursday with breakfast, gifts and words of praise from community and district leaders. The New Teacher Coffee, now in its 26th year, helps let educators know that they have the support of the community, said Matt Buzza, chairman of the sponsor, Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce. Guest speakers included Hillsborough County School Superintendent MaryEllen Elia, who said Plant City is known for its support for education. "You're part of a community that for years has stepped up and embraced our schools and our new teachers in particular," Elia said. A highlight of the New Teacher Coffee is always a competition for the best cheer. Teachers from about two dozen school took turns on the stage, with Tomlin Middle's cheer judged most creative and Robinson Elementary's cheer deemed showing the most spirit. But judges awarded the top honor to about 20 new teachers at Plant City High, who performed a skit on other professions they might pursue if they weren't in education. Reading teacher Jennifer Hamilton wrote the cheer, borrowing heavily from a skit that her husband Mark's Boy Scout troop used at a scouting camp. Hamilton said she and her colleagues only spent a few minutes in rehearsal and were thrilled to win. "This is a great way to start a new school year," Hamilton said.

dnicholson@tampatrib.com (813) 394-5103

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