Winner’s Circle

Valery Linkenhoker , Staff Writer

Balloons and gifts filled the rooms of math teacher Donald Gornto and virtual lab facilitator Laura Richardson in the days following the announcement of Teacher and Employee of the Year.

“I hope that I do well, and that I’m able to represent West Shore in the final teacher of the year,” Gornto said. “I know from previous teacher of the years that there are lofty expectations and I just hope that I can live up to those.”

Impacting students through the years, senior Anna Feldbush commended Gornto and his accomplishment.

“I was super-happy,” Feldbush said. “I’ve had him for geometry and A.P. Computer Science, so it was really great to hear that his hard work was being rewarded.”

Admiring the rest of the staff, Richardson was shocked to hear her name announced over the intercom.

“I definitely was not expecting to win. There are too many incredible people here that work so hard for this school.” Richardson said. “Just as [Principal Rick Fleming was] saying my name [Assistant Principal Catherine] Halbuer, [Athletic Director Tony] Riopelle and [Assistant Principal Glenn] Webb walked in and they had flowers and balloons, and with the students in class at the end of sixth period they were all excited and clapping. It was a very touching moment.”

Richardson’s recognition didn’t surprise her students.

“She is always a good spirit in the morning, and got my day off to a good start,” sophomore Lena Hatter said. “I’m really happy for her, she works hard to get her students to where they need to be.”

Representing the school may be an honor; however, the honor from the students may be the best reward.

“The kids are running up and hugging me, and that’s my reward,” Richardson said. “It’s a great place.”

Richardson has been named a finalist for Brevard County Employee of the Year, which will be announced in January.