Hilham Elementary School, teacher win national contest

By Michelle Price
UCBJ Managing Editor

Rack Room Shoes’ ‘Real Teacher of the Year’ Contest awards $10,000 computer lab grant to local school

 Hilham – Rack Room Shoes today recognized Hilham Elementary School Teacher Edie Williams as a winner of the family footwear retailer’s Real Teacher of the Year Contest.

As a winner, Williams will receive free shoes for a year and Hilham Elementary will receive a $10,000 computer lab grant.

Williams was nominated for the award by Angela Coffee, a parent with three sons at Hilham Elementary.  Williams’ connection with Coffee goes back decades.  Williams had taught Coffee’s younger brother when she worked in Van Buren County before coming to Hilham Elementary.

 “Ms. Williams puts her students’ needs ahead of her own. She is a shining light to students and an inspiration to the community,” read Williams’ nomination.

“I feel so honored that she nominated me,” said Williams. “I also appreciate all the people who took time to vote for me.  I think this is a great thing that Rack Room Shoes is doing. They are bringing attention to education and to all the teachers who work so hard every day.

 “I work with a great administration and staff. I feel this award is as much about them as it is about me. My principal believes in me and gives me freedom to teach in my personal style. All the administration and staff have been so supportive of me as I battle my second round of cancer.”

Williams was diagnosed last October with stage 4 incurable cancer following a bout with breast cancer previously. Williams said that although it is hard to get used to the idea that you don’t have much more time on earth, people have given her so much love and support that it has been truly amazing.

Williams is very excited about what the grant will do for the school where she has spent the last 21 years of her 36-year teaching career.

“The grant that our school is receiving is going to be used to upgrade our technology,” explained Williams. “Technology quickly becomes outdated, but replacement is so expensive for a small school like ours. The $10,000 is a great gift.”

Williams was looking forward to the celebration planned for Hilham Elementary today.

“It is going to be such a wonderful day,” beamed Williams. “Randy (her husband), other family members, friends, parents, former students and even a couple of my former teachers will be in attendance. We are also having a reward day for our students tomorrow for being a ‘5’ school again, so it really should be an incredible day.

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