Gwen Christmas Cates, Daughter of Iva Grace Barry Christmas Farris (Class of 1945)

By Southerland

A RESOLUTION to honor and congratulate Gwendolyn Cates on being named John Hay Elementary School Teacher of the Year.

WHEREAS, it is fitting that the members of this General Assembly should pause to specially recognize those outstanding teachers who have devoted their careers to providing the highest quality education for Tennessee’s students; and

WHEREAS, Gwendolyn Cates of John Hay Elementary School is one such estimable educator who has distinguished herself as a professional of the greatest dedication, ability, and integrity; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Cates has recently been selected Teacher of the Year for her school, an honor most befitting her outstanding tenure as a teacher as it recognizes the positive influence she has had on so many young lives; and

WHEREAS, as stated by Director of Schools Dr. Dale Lynch, “To be recognized as building level Teacher of the Year by one’s colleagues is one of the most prestigious honors one can receive”; and

WHEREAS, Gwendolyn Cates, along with all school-wide Teachers of the Year, will be considered for further recognition on a system-wide basis in three categories: pre-k through grade four, grades five through eight, and grades nine through twelve; those winners will then be nominated for district honors; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Cates places great emphasis on education in her personal life as well as her professional work, having earned a Bachelor of Science from Carson Newman College and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University as well as completing additional postgraduate coursework at the University of Tennessee and Cumberland University; and

WHEREAS, she has served with acumen and alacrity as a First Grade Teacher for thirty-four years; and

WHEREAS, Gwendolyn Cates is an extremely talented and compassionate educator who works assiduously to motivate her students to reach their full potential; her students and their families consider themselves tremendously blessed by their association with her; and

WHEREAS, a true leader in her profession, she is a trainer of future teachers and has supervised student teachers from Carson Newman College, Tusculum College, and Lincoln Memorial University; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Cates is an active and invaluable member of her community and her profession; she has shared her time and through activities with Alpha Delta Gamma including work the with MATS and CEASE shelters, fundraising for scholarships, and participation in activities to recognize retired teachers, and she has also worked to benefit the Morristown-Hamblen Library, local nursing homes, and area hospitals; and

WHEREAS, a devout Christian, she has taught in the preschool department at First Baptist Church since 1997, served as department director and a teacher in the children’s division, participated in activities at the Youth Emergency Shelter, and been a department
director and teacher in Vacation Bible School; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Cates truly serves as an inspiration to her family, friends, peers, and students alike, and her friendship and counsel are highly valued by those who are fortunate enough to know her; and

WHEREAS, she epitomizes the ideal of the dedicated teacher who is wholly committed to the highest ideals of public service and quality education for all, and she should be specially recognized; now, therefore,


CONCURRING, that we hereby honor and congratulate Gwendolyn Cates on being chosen as Teacher of the Year for John Hay Elementary School, commend her exceptional service to the youth of Tennessee, salute her professional expertise and personal excellence, and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

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