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July 03, 2003   Email to Friend 

Alabama Educator Named National Teacher Of The Year
Jeff Helms

Betsy Rogers of Leeds, Ala., right, visits with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush while in Washington to accept the National Teacher of the Year Award.
Alabama's 2002 Teacher of the Year Betsy Rogers was named America's National Teacher of the Year by President George W. Bush during a White House Rose Garden ceremony April 30.

The Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance Co. are major sponsors of the Teacher of the Year program in Alabama. They provided Rogers the use of a new car for one year, during which time she has traveled the state promoting excellence in education.

Rogers was selected from among 54 state and territorial winners. President Bush praised her abilities and commitment to ensuring no child is left behind.

"Our 2003 National Teacher of the Year is an example of the highest professional standards and the finest personal qualities," Bush said. "She is an accomplished teacher with 22 years in the profession, who could have her pick of any school--yet, she chooses to teach in a school in an underprivileged rural area because she believes that devoted teachers and principals can make a difference in the lives of students from every background.

"Teaching is a tradition in Betsy's family," the president continued. "Her grandmother was a teacher. Her mother taught Sunday school for 50 years. In her own career, Betsy Rogers is known for a commitment to students that goes beyond school hours. She gives before-school tutoring to students who need extra help learning to read, and volunteers on school committees after hours. She attends sporting events and birthday parties for her students. She helps the families of disadvantaged students through local church and community groups," he said.

Rogers said she is honored to be Alabama's first National Teacher of the Year.

"It has been said that children are the messages we will send to a time that many of us will never see. What an awesome responsibility and amazing privilege it is for us, as educators, to work with the future of America," she said.

"Our children are our hope for tomorrow, and a promise for a better day. We all want to live in a country where all our children are valued so much, that there would never be an issue of equity in education. We all want to live in a country where it would be unthinkable for any child not to have a highly-qualified teacher," Rogers said. "And we all want to live in a country where our citizens would be outraged if any child attended a school where the classroom environment was not safe, secure and nurturing. All of us want to live in a country where our legacy to the world is how we've taken care of our children."

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