Lucy McGuffey, a teacher at the Academic Success Center, received a statewide honor Thursday for her work teaching struggling students.
McGuffey was named the 2010 Georgia Association of Alternative Educator’s outstanding teacher award during the association’s conference at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center on Thursday.
The association honors educators at alternative schools across the state.
“We take students who are struggling, who others have given up on and maybe they’ve given up on themselves,” McGuffey said after tearfully accepting the award. “I tell my students they can be somebody or they can be nobody. It’s all up to them.”
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McGuffey has taught at the Academic Success Center, Muscogee County’s alternative high school, for eight years. She teaches English and work-related classes, including helping the students run an in-school store, selling school supplies and other items. The merchandise is donated by the school’s partners in education and students can buy the items with Eagle Bucks, fake money they earn for good behavior.
During her 25 years in the school district, McGuffey also helped start the district’s first drop-out prevention program.
McGuffey said she also knows what it’s like to be a parent of a student who has trouble with traditional learning methods. Her son, Alex Davis, has struggled with school, but he’s also had good teachers who help him enjoy his classes, she said.
“I have a much more realistic viewpoint,” McGuffey said. “When I see my son struggling, I can relate that to my students.”