Lenoir City High School students and staff took last week to appreciate education.

Spearheaded by teachers Angela Crabtree and Christina Mullinax in conjunction with administrators, the school participated Nov. 15-19 in American Education Week.

“We feel like our student body has had an especially hard past couple of years,” Crabtree said. “On top of the student body, faculty and staff have also had a really hard time in the past few years. There have been a lot of changes, both positive and negative, and we just wanted to remind our entire student population and faculty population and staff population to reflect on how grateful we should be, to reflect on how great this place is to be a part of.

“We don’t always get that opportunity throughout the day or week or even semester,” she added. “So we’re just taking a pause in our regular school day reflecting upon why we should be so grateful to be a part of the American public education system and giving people opportunity to showcase that.”

Daily themes included being one district, showing kindness, diversity, giving and being exceptional.

“I think we just brainstormed some words that we felt really personified that kind of attitude of gratefulness and things we wanted to highlight,” Mullinax said.

“We really looked at what tasks we wanted to accomplish through the week and what themes would help embody those tasks,” Crabtree added.

The designation has been celebrated nationwide since 1921 with the purpose of raising awareness about the importance of public education.

“I think the student body has really appreciated just kind of getting highlighted and getting involved,” Mullinax said. “A lot of times in the past years when we’ve done not this week but other weeks it’s very teacher-focused and we tried to take the focus not away from teachers but make sure everybody understands it’s our subs, our administrators, it’s our custodians. Everyone is playing the role to make this educational experience positive for our students.”

The Nov. 16 theme was “LC is Giving,” which called attention to charity. A contest was held for all advisory classes to give toward the Santa’s Helper program, which ensures children have a good Christmas.

Crabtree could not determine a final amount raised, but she said at least $250 had been donated.

“And that’s above and beyond the normal Santa’s Helper,” Mullinax said. “This was just, ‘Hey, I’ve got $5 in my pocket’.”

“The goal of that day was we have especially some older kids who haven’t been sponsored yet and so we kind of brainstormed ways we could get just a one-time giving to just cover those kids that aren’t covered yet,” Crabtree added. “That’s a minimum of two more children that will have their needs met especially for the holidays and the winter season.”

On Nov. 17 as part of “LC is Exceptional,” classes formally presented posters outside their rooms showing why they loved LCHS. Principal Brandee Hoglund and Athletics Director Chris Brittain were judges.

“What makes you want to be at school?” Crabtree said. “We wanted to see the plethora of answers that students and faculty alike would offer because even just walking down the hall and reading some of them on the way down here, there are things that my class didn’t come up with. Just seeing the diversity of perspectives from our faculty and student body of, ‘Why do you like being here? What is it about this American education setting that’s positive for you?’”

Mullinax said she hoped the emphasis could return next year.

“It’s about showcasing the skills and talents of every person that brings different things into our school,” Crabtree said. “It’s a reminder to be grateful for this free public education that we have. It is a gift that not all people in the global community can boast. We’re offering a lot of different opportunities for us to just showcase how great our student body is, how great our faculty are, how great our staff is, how great our administrators are. It really focuses on the skills and talents and kindness of all individuals across our education system.”