Thursday Rotary Club of Hickory announces 2017 Wilmer Jenkins Teacher of the Year Award

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Teacher of the Year Group Shot 050417 HDR

(L-R): Caitlin Norton, Janice Walker, Diane Urtel, Madison Yount, Christina Lancaster, Jason Stephens, Tony Crouch, Jessica Johnson, and Elizabeth Rollins

At the May 4th meeting of the Thursday Rotary Club of Hickory, Rotarian David Moore announced the 2017 Wilmer Jenkins Teacher of the Year for the Hickory Public Schools. The award is given annually in memory of Wilmer M. Jenkins, who served as superintendent of Hickory Public Schools from July 1, 1958 – June 30, 1967 and was a member and past President of the Thursday Rotary Club of Hickory.

Madison Yount Hickory Rotary Club Teacher of the Year 2017 HDRThis year the selection committee chose Madison Yount (left), who teaches English at Hickory High School.  Ms. Yount is a product of the Hickory Public School system and a graduate of Hickory High School. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Lenoir-Rhyne University. She is also the advisor of Interact and the National English Honor Society. Madison says she is “so excited to be teaching at my alma mater. Go Tornadoes!”

Kathy Greathouse, Chairperson of the Wilmer Jenkins Teacher of the Year selection committee, noted “this year, as every year, we know full well that the winner is not here with us today. The winners – all 4,200 of them – are studying at desks in schools across our city. With you today are the inspiring teachers who are changing their lives in profound ways”.

Teachers nominated for this year’s award were Tony Crouch, Firefighting Technologies Academy Instructor at Hickory Career Arts and Magnet School; Jessica Johnson, 2nd grade teacher at Jenkins Elementary School; Christina Lancaster, 6th and 7th grade math and science teacher at Grandview Middle School; Catlin Norton, kindergarten teacher at Viewmont Elementary School; Elizabeth Rollins, pre-k teacher at Southwest Elementary School; Jason Stephens, chorus teacher for grades 6, 7, and 8 and coach at Northview Middle School; Diane Urtel, Exceptional Children teacher at Oakwood Elementary School; Janice Walker, 4th grade teacher at Longview Elementary School; and Madison Yount, English teacher and Interact Club advisor at Hickory High School.

Each nominee received a plaque and a check for $500, and the Teacher of the Year received $1,000.

These donations are made possible by the Thursday Rotary Club of Hickory’s successful fundraising activities, including the annual Rotarian Idol competition. The Thursday Rotary Club of Hickory’s ongoing commitment of financial support continues to provide necessary educational assistance locally, and is consistent with the club’s continued commitment to and financial support of local educational initiatives.

The Thursday Rotary Club of Hickory was founded in 1921 by Watt Shuford. In adherence to Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self,” the club has a history of giving back to the community through its primary service avenue of education. For more information about The Thursday Rotary Club of Hickory, visit

General Info

  • Meeting Time:
    Thursdays from 12:00PM to 1:15PM
  • Meeting Location:
    430 17th Avenue NW,
    Hickory, North Carolina 28601