LELAND, NC (WWAY) — After Hurricane Florence ripped through the North Carolina coast, Elise Barrett “jumped in with both feet” to help rebuild her community and lift school morale.
Barrett, a teacher at Lincoln Elementary School in Leland, worked around the clock collecting donations, organizing a supply warehouse, and handing out items for those in need. Described as “a teacher with a heart of gold,” Barrett organized a pancake breakfast for families at Lincoln Elementary who were impacted by the storm.
“People always want to help when disasters happen but Elise made a difference and helped so many,” said Ray Baca of Wilmington, who nominated Barrett. “I am proud to know her, and Lincoln is lucky to have someone so special.”
Her giving spirit is what led to Barrett’s selection as one of the 10 winners of the Education Lottery’s School Heroes campaign.
“I am truly honored and humbled to be named a N.C. School Hero,” said Barrett. “During my organization of hurricane relief efforts for my school community, I genuinely felt like I was fulfilling my role as an educator, which extends beyond the classroom.”
The North Carolina Education Lottery created N.C. School Heroes to showcase the positive impacts teachers, principals, and other school workers have in public schools every day. From 6,750 nominations, ten heroes were chosen with each receiving a $10,000 award and $10,000 for their school.
Students at Lincoln Elementary, including Barrett’s fifth grade students, gathered in the school cafeteria on Thursday to celebrate their School Hero. They cheered and clapped as she received her big check.
“There are thousands of heroes like Elise Barrett doing amazing work in our public schools,” said Mark Michalko, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery. “Teachers, cafeteria workers, custodians, school resource officers, all make a big difference for our students every day. We’re glad our School Heroes program shines a spotlight on their great work.”