Jesup teacher honored for decades of service

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 5:49 PM EDT
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JESUP, Ga. (WTOC) - Jesup Elementary School staff members pulled off quite the surprise on Thursday.

They put together a “secret assembly” to honor a teacher who’s worked in Wayne County for almost six decades.

Ellen Townsend, a teacher at Jesup Elementary School, received some special recognition, not just from her fellow staff members but also from the city.

Mayor Ralph Hickox has proclaimed Sept. 22 as Ellen Townsend Day, thanking her for her 58 years of service to the county.

Townsend thought she was attending a regular school assembly, but it turned out to be a celebration all about her. Townsend’s friends, family, some local officials, and of course hundreds of elementary students - all surrounded her with love and gratitude for everything she’s done in nearly 60 years.

Townsend says Thursday’s celebration caught her completely off guard.

“I’m not a person to seek attention. That was overwhelming I can say that, I was overwhelmed and emotional, very emotional,” she said.

Townsend says it’s the kids that keep her coming back year after year.

“As long as I keep searching for things to bring to the classroom to help a child, I think I’ll be useful. That’s what I do every day, thinking how can I make it easier, and a better way to teach,” Townsend said.

A day of giving back to a teacher who’s given so much to her community.

As for what’s next for Townsend, she says she plans to keep teaching as long as she’s inspired—her friends and family say that could be forever.