This week’s Golden Apple Award winner is...

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 8:57 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Melinda Cowart is a kindergarten teacher at Breakfast Point Academy in Panama City Beach.

Although Mrs. Cowart began her career in the business world, she quickly realized education was her calling.

“I come from a long line of educators,” Mrs. Cowart said. “I think I really missed that calling when I was deciding.”

Once Mrs. Cowart became an educator, she found a home in teaching kindergarten.

“I love teaching at Breakfast Point because we are truly a family,” Mrs. Cowart said. “And it starts in kindergarten and it goes all the way to 8th grade. And I can watch my children grow.”

Former students speak glowingly of her.

“My own son had her in kindergarten and still talks about her,” Clint Whitfield, Principal at Breakfast Point Academy, said. “Loves seeing her.”

Mrs. Cowart was nominated for how she helped a special needs student in her class.

“I do have Beckett in my class,” Mrs. Cowart said. “Beckett does have some special needs. He wears cochlear implants because he has a hearing loss. And Beckett also needs to wear glasses. And that’s a lot.”

As Beckett struggled to wear glasses, Mrs. Cowart had a light bulb moment to help her student feel at home.

“I said, you know what if everybody in the class could one day have glasses on then maybe it would make Beckett feel more comfortable,” Mrs. Cowart said.

Mrs. Cowart bought blue glasses like these.

Then she gave Beckett the biggest surprise.

“One day we surprised Beckett,” Mrs. Cowart said. “He went off to speech and when he came back in, the whole class was wearing their blue glasses. He was very happy and surprised that his friends all looked like he did.”

His friends love it too.

“I like wearing these blue glasses cause it makes Beckett feel comfortable,” Blayke, Beckett’s classmate, said.

Teaching isn’t about the awards, but Mrs. Cowart was honored to win this one.

“I’m just blown away,” Mrs. Cowart said. “Nobody teaches for either the money or the recognition. We do it for the hugs and the kids as we see them grow.”

Congratulations to this week’s Golden Apple Award winner, Melinda Cowart.