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Double honors

By Staff
Danville-Neel earns more awards
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Good news just keeps rolling in at Danville-Neel Elementary School, and this time it's a double dose.
State's cleanest school, second year running
Danville-Neel Elementary School was recently named the "Cleanest School of the Year" in the state for the second straight year by People Against a Littered State. It is the only school to ever receive the award twice.
Student Council and Litter Patrol sponsors Jane Knight and Konnye Holladay said they and the students are very excited about the honor.
"This is our second year to have an organized Litter Patrol and the second year we have received this award," Knight said. "Not only does it teach community and school pride, but it also ties into our land and water science lessons."
Besides weekly campus clean up, the Litter Patrol also plants flowers and shrubs and does mulching.
"Wow," Principal Jeremy Jones said. "This honor is huge and everyone at the school and in the community has such a great sense of pride about it and our everyday efforts. From the custodians to the lunchroom staff, the students to the teachers, the staff to the community, everyone is excited about keeping our school and community clean and environmentally sound."
Jones said campus beautification is an everyday event at Danville-Neel. The school holds several "Clean Campus" seasonal events and students encourage each other daily to keep their school clean.
"The school is on top of recycling also," Jones said. "We recycle newspapers, cans, aluminum containers, ink-jet cartridges, and glass items. Our school recycled 5,500 pounds of goods last year and used the funds to purchase trees, bird feeders, and plants. It's truly a school-wide effort to protect and rejuvenate the environment."
The award was accompanied by $1,000, which the school will use for future beautification projects at the school and in the community. The Litter Patrol's biggest undertaking this year will be the beautification of the Danville Post Office.
"We really wanted to expand into the community," Knight said. "The post office needs attention, so the Litter Patrol decided to plant shrubs and flowers and add some fresh paint to the building. The hope is to make it a more attractive and welcoming part of the town."
Duncan named Teacher of the Year
Danville-Neel Elementary School special education teacher Wanda Duncan was recently named the United Cerebral Palsy Early Childhood-Provider Teacher of the Year.
Duncan and team teacher Malia Harris hold morning and afternoon preschool classes at Danville-Neel Elementary for 23 special needs students ranging in age from three to six years old to remediate specific learning deficiencies.
"The sky is the limit with our students," Duncan said. "Every little step is a celebration."
From identifying colors to pronouncing specific sounds, Duncan and the students cheer each other on and recognize individual achievements with applause and smiles.
"I just want our students to love learning," Duncan said. "They're like little sponges just waiting to learn as much as they can."
Jones called Duncan a "firebrand of enthusiasm."
"She is one of those very rare teachers who comes along once in a lifetime," Jones said. "Because of her commitment to children, knowledge, expertise, training, willingness to work, and ability to get along with administration, staff and parents, she has made the greatest positive difference in the lives of the children she has served."
Duncan credits her achievements greatly to the parents and those, like Harris, who assist her and the students on a daily basis.
"We are really proud of the program we offer here at Danville-Neel," Duncan said. "The efforts of many are what make it work."

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