With teacher appreciation week starting next Monday, the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce held its 19th annual Teacher Appreciation Reception on Tuesday.
Close to 500 teachers were in attendance for the reception, which was created to recognize teachers in the area for all the handwork they do throughout the year.
Ardmore Chamber of Commerce Communications Coordinator Sarah Johnson has been a part of the teacher appreciation reception for the past five years, and is glad to see the teachers getting the love and respect they deserve.
“This is our way for our community to say thank you to all of our teachers,” Sarah Johnson said. “We put on the event with generous sponsorships from our community, both to make the event happen and our door prizes.”
Local businesses donated around $18,000  worth of merchandise and gift cards to this year’s reception, with gifts ranging from hotel stays to a lifetime of car detailing.
The awards were raffled off in a drawing, with six lucky winners receiving an iPad. The iPad’s were donated by XTO Energy.
XTO Energy first became the presenting sponsor for the reception in 2012, and has been donating Apple products since.
Guy Haykus, the XTO Senior Production superintendent for the Ardmore area, said the iPad’s were a way to not only help the teachers in the classroom and a special way to benefit them personally.
“Everybody, when you are talking about your education had a teacher that made an impact,” Haykus said. “I feel like in today’s world the teachers don’t get the credit they deserve, it is a tough job and it takes a special person to do what these guys do everyday.”

One of those special teachers is Mary “The Fox” Johnson, who has been a member of Ardmore City Schools for almost 40 years.

Johnson, who currently teaches World Geography to sixth graders at Ardmore Middle School, has attended all 19 of the teacher appreciation receptions, and is appreciative of the work the Chamber of Commerce has done in recognizing the efforts of the teachers in the area.

“Anything that can help encourage our teachers, a pat on the back or a smile on the face is appreciated,” Mary Johnson said. “To let us know you really care about us and we really care about the business and people in our community.”

Each teacher received a gift card valued at $25 dollars after the ceremony.

“We are really excited, it is a great chance for the area businesses and for us to say thank to all of our local teachers at once,” Sarah Johnson said. “I have just been astounded every year how much the community steps up for it, in a way you don’t necessarily see in the big cities.”