Chick-fil-A adopts Vinton area teachers

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VINTON–Bob Duffessy, owner/operator of the new Bonsack Chick-fil-A restaurant, his marketing director Jade Doolan, and Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce Director Angie Chewning came up with a plan to make a positive impact on the community with an “Adopt a Teacher” project.

Bonsack, Herman L. Horn, Mount Pleasant, and W. E. Cundiff Elementary schools along with William Byrd Middle and High Schools were each asked to nominate one teacher for the recognition this year. Each teacher was asked to compile and submit a wish list of 20 items that would be useful in their classrooms.

The adopted teachers are Christi Stanley (Bonsack), Wendy Niday (HLH), Ronda Wickham (MPES), Erin Edmondson (WEC), Heather Balsley (WBMS), and Jill Morris (WBHS).

Erin Edmondson (on left) from W. E. Cundiff Elementary School was adopted by the Bonsack Chick-fil-A. Marketing director Jade Doolan presented her a basket of items for her classroom.
Erin Edmondson (on left) from W. E. Cundiff Elementary School was adopted by the Bonsack Chick-fil-A. Marketing director Jade Doolan presented her a basket of items for her classroom.

Awards were to be presented at the WBHS football game on October 9, but pouring rain cancelled the game and half-time presentations. The teachers picked up their gifts instead at Chick-fil-A on October 26.

Items on their wish lists included classroom basics like Scotch tape, Legos, photo books to hold flash cards, markers, pencils, play dough, paint, and board games.

WBMS teacher/librarian Heather Balsley requested materials for the school’s Makerspace, including bottles of paint and Q-tips.

“I would like to thank Tammy Newcomb, my principal, for all of her support for the library and for our Makerspace,” said Balsley. “We are making great strides incorporating technology into our curriculum (3D printers, coding, electrical circuits, etc.) because of her support. I’d also like to thank Chick-fil-A for recognizing local teachers and supporting the community.”

Erin Edmondson returned to teaching after seven years minus many of the teaching materials she had accumulated and then given away, so she was especially appreciative to her school administration, the Chamber of Commerce, and Chick-fil-A for the award. Her wish list included classroom supplies and math manipulatives.

Teacher/librarian Heather Balsley (on left) from William Byrd Middle School received a basket of supplies on her wish list from Chick-fil-A's Jade Doolan.
Teacher/librarian Heather Balsley (on left) from William Byrd Middle School received a basket of supplies on her wish list from Chick-fil-A’s Jade Doolan.

Dr. Richard Turner, principal at WBHS, said he is very pleased with Chick-fil-A for offering their support with the Adopt-a-Teacher recognition.

“This was a way of strengthening students’ education with minimum effort,” said Doolan. “It’s amazing what something as simple as sight cards can do for a child’s education to help them learn.”

“Chick-fil-A has many ways they do outreach in the community,” said Doolan. “We want to impact people. Bob, our owner/operator, wanted to focus on the schools and classrooms. Teachers are under so much stress with so many demands. We hope this program spreads past more than just the six teachers chosen.”

The Bonsack restaurant has also reached out to the community with a Fall Festival and a Meet and Greet with local high school football captains. They collected donations for Breast Cancer Awareness and there is an upcoming Blood Drive scheduled for November 14 in their parking lot (donors receive a free chicken sandwich). Pirate/Princess costume fun night is scheduled for November 10.