The annual Teacher Appreciation Reception isn’t until next month, but preparations are underway now.
The reception, an evening event set after the school day at the Ardmore Convention Center, is a celebratory event for teachers in the Ardmore area with hors d’oeuvres and door prizes. Ardmore Chamber of Commerce Communication Coordinator Sarah Johnson said volunteers will begin collecting donations for the event.
“It’s a quick turnaround, and what we’re doing here as volunteers is a lot of work, but it’s easy because of the community,” Johnson said.
Volunteers, many of whom are returning, will soon reach out to local businesses for donations. Johnson said Vance Porter has returned every year.
“So far, other than staff, Vance has done it every year since we started,” Johnson said. “He volunteers for every event that we have. He’s our ambassador, he makes calls and he hits the pavement for us.”
During the reception, superintendents will give presentations about the past year and what’s in store for the next year. In addition, they’ll recognize teachers of the year and all retiring teachers from every district.
“It’s a huge event,” Johnson said.
She said preparations for the reception tend to be easier because door prizes can be anything from cash donations and gift cards to event tickets and merchandise.
“It’s one of our events that’s the easiest to raise donations for because it goes straight to the teachers in the form of door prizes,” Johnson said. “Not everybody can lay down a huge cash donation, but everybody’s excited to give something. It varies hugely.”
The event is a show of support for every Ardmore school, which Johnson said makes it a chance for donors to support all area teachers without having to pick just one school.
“This is really a chance for businesses to show the teachers how much they appreciate how hard they work,” Johnson said. “Everybody feels it and knows it, but it’s hard sometimes if you aren’t in the school yourself or have a kid in school yourself to show it.”
Teachers from Ardmore, Plainvew, Springer, Dickson, Lone Grove, Oak Hall Episcopal School, Southern Tech and Ardmore Family Literacy attend every year. Johnson said she expects a crowd of about 500.  
“It’s grown a lot since I’ve been here,” Johnson said. “This is my fifth one, and two or three years ago Springer and Dickson came on board.”
This will mark the reception’s 19th year.
“That’s one thing Ardmore always does,” Johnson said. “Everything we do for the schools, Ardmore just throws itself behind, and I’ve been impressed in the years that I’ve been here, with how much the community backs its schools.”
The reception is slated for 4 p.m. May 2 at the Ardmore Convention Center.