CONOVER, N.C. -- ChevEll Blachnik of Lyle Creek Elementary was named Teacher Assistant of the Year (TAOY) for Catawba County at the annual Teacher Assistant Banquet on Thursday night, April 14.

In making the announcement, 2010 TAOY Anita Wilkinson characterized the new TAOY's passion for her work by sharing Blachnik's own words that, children are our future and it is very important to help children become the best individuals they can be.

Blachnik serves in many roles as teacher assistant. She is a fleet bus driver for Lyle Creek, River Bend and Bunker Hill. She works with students in grades 1, 3, 4 and 6 doing math interventions and also helps in the Lyle Creek Media Center. She has been serving Catawba County students for 12 years and has served on the local, district and state level as a member of the Teacher Assistant s organization.

Blachnik said she is proud to represent Catawba County Schools. She will now move on to district competition in the fall.

Paula Fulbright of Banoak Elementary was first runner-up. Fulbright is also a 12-year veteran who is a volunteer in her church and Hospice and has her PDP and Journeyman certifications. Other candidates were Karen Henry, Oxford Elementary, Kim Smith, Mountain View Elementary and Sande White, Maiden Elementary. The combined group of candidates represented over 70 years of service.

The evening carried a Hawaiian theme with entertainment provided by Rick Cline and his group on the steel drums. Leis were abundant and unique handmade decorations, desserts and goldfish in small bowls adorned the tables.

Superintendent Glenn Barger spoke briefly to those present, expressing his appreciation for the work teacher assistants do. You are a very important part of this school system, he said, pointing out that the success of the students and the system are a direct result of their efforts.

St. Stephens Elementary hosted the event.

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